NHK World News
As the International Court of Justice get’s ready to release its verdict on Julian Assange at this afternoon’s press conference, newly declassified reports have been released from the Director of National Intelligence that implement his former website, WikiLeaks, in aiding the Russian’s cyber attack on the U.S. democratic process.
The reports were declassified on December 6th. On January 5th, the Director of National Intelligence released a report on those documents that found that Russian hackers–under direct orders from Vladimir Putin–deliberately and maliciously hacked into emails and senior officials of the Democratic party with the goal of discrediting Hilary Clinton’s campaign and weakening the overall democratic process of the United States. As Stated in the report: “Russia is a full-scope cyber actor that poses a major threat to U.S. Government, military, diplomatic, commercial, and critical infrastructure and key resource networks because of its highly advanced offensive cyber program and sophisticated tactics, techniques, and procedures.”
Much of the information was released through Assange’s former website WikiLeaks. And although Assange has denied that he knew that the email and data dumps about the Democrats came from Russia, he can’t deny that they did come from an anonymous third party, which very well could have been the same hackers that led the attack.
This has led to speculation about Assange’s ties to the Kremlin, bolstered by his statements about the “free” Russian press, as seen in numerous interviews he’s done with the Guardian, NYT, and Atlantic since living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012. A statement that has been criticized by journalists from the west, and rightly so, since 2010 four Russian journalists have been murdered. Those deaths haven’t been linked directly to the Kremlin, speculation about the motive and suspected killers in rampant.
In a case where the key issue is Assange’s political status, the implications of WikiLeaks in the Russian hack cannot be overstated. Ecuador has already voiced its fears and indeed, has stated outright, that it’s protecting Assange based on its fear that his extradition to Sweden would lead back to the states. And that the U.S. is only using the rape allegations as a foothold for their underlying motivation: to have him face trial in America as a cyber criminal.