Can we trust Julian Assange and WikiLeaks?

Alex Gibney writes: I’ve had my own run-ins with Mr. Assange. During the making of my 2013 film, “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,” I spent an agonizing six hours with him, when he was living in an English country house while out on bail. I was struck by how insistently he steered the conversation away from matters of principle to personal slights against him, and his plans for payback. He demanded personal “intel” on others I had interviewed, and dismissed questions about the organization by saying, “I am WikiLeaks” repeatedly. (Later, Mr. Assange and his followers attacked both me and my film.)

Even given that history, I believe that WikiLeaks was fully justified in publishing the D.N.C. emails, which provided proof that members of the D.N.C., in a hotly contested primary, discussed how to undermine the campaign of Bernie Sanders. They are clearly in the public interest.

As for Mr. Assange’s animus against Hillary Clinton — he has written that she “lacks judgment and will push the United States into endless, stupid wars which spread terrorism” — that is evidence of bias, but no more than that. After all, many news outlets are clearly, and sometimes proudly, biased.

We still don’t know who leaked the D.N.C. archive, but given Mr. Assange’s past association with Russia, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it was a Russian agent or an intermediary. Mr. Assange insists this is a mere distraction from the issue of D.N.C. interference, but the answer is also in the public interest. We should all be concerned (although hardly surprised) if it is that easy for the Russians to break into the D.N.C. and possibly United States government networks. [Continue reading…]

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