WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange appeared on ABC’s Sunday morning program, “This Week,” hosted by George Stephanopoulos, to provide an update on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. He was joined by Justice Department whistleblower and Government Accountability Project director of the national security and human rights division, Jesselyn Radack.
Assange said he wished he could give more details on the situation with Snowden but said it was a “matter of international of diplomatic negotiations now.” He said, “Why is it that Mr. Snowden is not in the United States? He should feel that he should be afforded to justice in the United States, but his situations is very similar to a situation that I face and my staff face, where we are being sucked into a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia. That’s where the charges for Edward Snowden came from.”
“Asylum decisions are always a mixture of the political and legal,” Assange replied when asked if any country would grant him asylum. “I think there are several countries where it is politically possible for Mr. Snowden to receive asylum and many countries, of course, where he is legally entitled to that kind of protection.”
Assange attempted multiple times to put the focus on the content of what Snowden had revealed. He declared, “Without the will of the American people, without the will of the American Congress, we now have a state within a state. We have a transnational surveillance apparatus.” He highlighted how journalist Glenn Greenwald had said, when speaking to attendees at the Socialism Conference in Chicago, that the NSA had brand new technology for putting into repositories 1 billion phone calls a day.
Stephanopoulos played comments from Secretary of State John Kerry, who said people could die because of Snowden’s whistleblowing. To that Assange responded, “We were subject to exactly this kind of rhetoric two or three years ago and it all proved to be false. We had this terrible discussion about, which even exists in some of the tabloid press today about WikiLeaks causing harm but not a single US government official.” (In fact, “This Week” played a clip of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, “It puts people lives in danger, threatens our national security,” before the interview with Assange.) [cont’d.]