An email released by the U.S. State Department -- and now touted by Edward Snowden -- suggests the agency believed it had succeeded in influencing a "60 Minutes" interview of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
In a 2011 email, then-State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the agency’s work with the CBS television program in advance of the January 2011 Assange interview.
Crowley said his team "had made a number of suggestions for outside experts and former diplomats to interview to 'balance' the piece” but told Clinton that Assange “will be the only person featured.” Crowley then told Clinton: “'60 Minutes' assures me that they raised a number of questions and concerns we planted with them during the course of the interview. We will be prepared to respond to the narrative Assange presents during the program.”
In the lead-up to the interview, Clinton publicly criticized WikiLeaks’ release of hundreds of thousands of classified State Department cables, saying the disclosure “puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.”
Those cables continue to provide information that is politically relevant -- and perhaps inconvenient -- to Clinton. Most recently, after Clinton said she “did not work on” the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the cables detailed the extent to which she and her State Department staff aggressively pushed that controversial 12-nation trade deal, which is opposed by many of her Democratic presidential rivals.