Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, FBI director James Comey said that while he wouldn’t “confirm whether or not there are charges” pending against the WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange, the reason he “hasn’t been apprehended is because he’s inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London.”
While speculation has long been that the U.S. government has a sealed indictment against Assange, the government refuses to openly say whether or not criminal charges exist against the man whose media organization has published troves of classified material, much of which has exposed secrets that paint the global superpower—and many of its top political leaders—in a negative light.
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In his remarks Wednesday, Comey argued that WikiLeaks—”an important focus of [the FBI’s] attention”—does not practice journalism like other “responsible” outlets, but instead acts as a “known outlet of foreign propaganda” that has harmed U.S. interests.
Last month, Common Dreams reported on rumblings within President Donald Trump’s Justice Department that criminal charges were being prepared.
Despite the fact that major news outlets from around the world have consistently relied on the information provided by WikiLeaks over the years, Comey on Wednesday repeatedly described WikiLeaks as “intelligence porn” that serves no journalistic purpose.
“A huge portion of WikiLeaks has nothing to do with legitimate news-gathering and is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States,” Comey said. “American journalists do not do that.”
Journalist Glenn Greenwald was among those immediately pushing back against such arguments:
And, not surprisingly, WikiLeaks was also watching: