Julian Assange is pictured. (AP Photo)
UPDATED 7:22 AM PT – Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Watchdog group Project Veritas released a phone call between Julian Assange and an Obama-era State Department attorney, warning of a coming release of unredacted communications.
James O’Keefe, the organization’s president, had teased the release Tuesday. He said the group had obtained never before heard audio recordings indicating a “fascinating look into the relationship between the U.S. government and Wikileaks.”
Project Veritas released the recording Wednesday in which the embattled Wikileaks founder spoke with an attorney who worked with the Hillary Clinton-led State Department.
According to Assange, a State Department database of hundreds of thousands of communications was being spread around between multiple media agencies.
“We have intelligence that the State Department database archive of 250,000 diplomatic cables, including declassified cables, is being spread around,” said Assange. He went on to warn that the spread had become so great that the communications were likely to be leaked in the coming days.
The call came on Aug. 26, 2011, one day after a German magazine published an article about the trove of communications and six days before the full unredacted cables were published in what came to be known as “Cablegate.”
According to Assange, the unredacted communications were disseminated by a former Wikileaks employee who stole the information in an attempt to rival the organization.
“The motivation is to embarrass us and destroy our exclusivity as severely as possible, so the best way to do that is to make the information completely public,” Assange explained. He noted that this “rogue employee” had the ability to release the cables in full with no redactions.
Assange offered to help keep the information contained, giving the Clinton State Department time to implement warning procedures to any sources mentioned in the communications. According to reports, the State Department apparently did little to stop the spread of the communications.
The release of this phone call comes amid a push for President Trump to issue a pardon to 48-year-old Assange.
Assange remains imprisoned in London and faces multiple charges by the U.S. He could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted.