WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defended his and WikiLeaks’ practices in a lengthy, 1,000-word plus statement released while Americans head to the polls Tuesday morning. The public can make a more informed decision between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump with the service WikiLeaks is providing, Assange wrote.
“The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks – an organization that has a staff and organizational mission far beyond myself. Our organization defends the public’s right to be informed,” Assange said. “This is why, irrespective of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election, the real victor is the US public which is better informed as a result of our work.”
WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have for months released thousands of hacked emails from Clinton and her campaign while facing criticism and praise for the potential effect the leaks may have on the outcome of Election Day.
Assange used the statement to cite the American public’s interest in WikiLeaks findings. Much of it has pertained to the Democratic Party and its push for Clinton over Bernie Sanders as well as the inner-workings of Clinton’s campaign and that of manager John Podesta. Assange also calling the leaks “harmonious with the First Amendment.” The statement came only a few hours after WikiLeaks published its 35th installment of Podesta’s emails from the campaign trail.
Critics have questioned both the source of the leaks and Assange’s motives for attacking Clinton, but he defended WikiLeaks and said if he had similar information from Trump’s camp the site would also publish that material.
“We publish material given to us if it is of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical importance and which has not been published elsewhere. When we have material that fulfills this criteria, we publish,” Assange wrote. “We had information that fit our editorial criteria which related to the Sanders and Clinton campaign (DNC Leaks) and the Clinton political campaign and Foundation (Podesta Emails). No-one disputes the public importance of these publications. It would be unconscionable for WikiLeaks to withhold such an archive from the public during an election.”
The statement defends the hacker network’s actions and Assange specifically addressed accusations by the Clinton campaign of others of a clandestine relationship with Russia, which has also been accused and confirmed of hacking the Democratic National Committee.
“The Clinton campaign, when they were not spreading obvious untruths, pointed to unnamed sources or to speculative and vague statements from the intelligence community to suggest a nefarious allegiance with Russia,” the statement continued. “The campaign was unable to invoke evidence about our publications — because none exists.”
There is, however, little doubt that WikiLeaks’ actions have affected the election. The leaks have caused major disruption to Clinton’s campaign in the closing months of a very completive election with Trump, and they have served as one of Trump’s main battering rams against Clinton, leading him to tag her with the nickname “Crooked Hillary.”