Julian Assange’s non-denial denial on Russian interference in the U.S. election

On Saturday, Donald Trump said he knew “things that other people don’t know” about the hacking, and that the information would be revealed “on Tuesday or Wednesday.”

It’s widely believed that the “revelation” Trump was alluding to would come from Julian Assange in an interview the Wikileaks founder did with Sean Hannity that aired on Fox News last night.

During that interview, Hannity pressed Assange on the question of Russian involvement in the hacking:

Assange: There is one person in the world and I think it’s actually only one, who knows exactly what is going on with our publications and that’s me.

Hannity: Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta’s emails — can you tell the American people 1,000% you did not get it from Russia [Assange interjects “yes”] or anybody associated with Russia?

Assange: We can say, have said repeatedly over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not [a] state party.

Assange chooses his words very carefully and for him to provide an unequivocal denial of Russian involvement he had no need to rephrase Hannity’s question. He could have simply responded that his source neither is nor was associated with Russia.

It has always been reasonable to assume that Russia would provide Wikileaks with plausible deniability by using an intermediary who was not overtly a state party or having easily identifiable ties to the Russian government and yet Assange declined to say that his source is/was not associated with Russia. The source might not be a “state party” (however Assange defines that expression) and yet, even now, Assange has not ruled out a Russian association.

Some day Assange may find himself on trial and be pressed on questions about what he did or did not know about his sources. As categorical as he might want statements he makes now to sound, he also most likely wants to leave himself wiggle room so that in the future he can still claim, “I didn’t know.” His concern then (and now) being to avoid being accused of knowingly trying to subvert an election by serving as an agent of a foreign power.

As for his professed dedication to truth-telling, it’s noteworthy that in the course of the interview, Assange repeatedly distorts the hacking narrative provided by the U.S. government by saying the Russia has been accused of hacking voting machines — an accusation that on the few occasions it has been made has swiftly been denied by government officials. In this, as he has often done so in the past, Assange shows that prizes the value not only of information but also disinformation.

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3 thoughts on “Julian Assange’s non-denial denial on Russian interference in the U.S. election

  1. King Harvest

    How on earth is this a non-denial denial?

    “…can you tell the American people 1,000% you did not get it from Russia [Assange interjects “yes”]”

    Should he have upped it to 2000%?

  2. Paul Woodward Post author

    In common parlance “Russia” is shorthand for the Russian government, so all Assange is saying is that his source is not inside the Russian government.

    Firstly, we have to distinguish between Wikileaks’ source and whoever engaged in the hacking. Assange’s denial refers simply to his own source without addressing the question about where this individual/group/entity received the information from. So all he is saying is that he did not deal directly with someone inside the Russian government — a rather pointless denial because, frankly, no one who has given this matter any thought would have even thought it at all likely that the Russians would have dealt directly with Wikileaks.

    Given the redundancy of this initial question on Russia, Hannity then widens the scope of possible sources by including anyone “associated with Russia.”

    “Associated” is a very loose term and all sorts of people have associations of one kind or another with Russia. In response, Assange could have parsed the term by on the one hand saying he couldn’t rule out all possible associations but also asserting he is absolutely certain his source was not acting on behalf of the Russian government.

    He didn’t do that. Instead, he conjured up an expression he left undefined — “state party” — which leaves open the possibility that if his source is eventually identified and seen to be associated with Russia, Assange will plead ignorance about that association.

  3. Kader Nahaboo


    Let the world know the truths of “Regime Change” in the Middle East, besides perpetual conflicts in the region, and beyond.

    J William Fulbright’s book “The Arrogance of Power” is relevant in the 21st century.

    THE TRUTH always prevailed. THE ALMIGHTY knows best.

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