President Donald Trump’s Justice Department will need the rhetorical support of liberal Democrats to succeed in prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, and Tommy Vietor, former national security spokesperson and special assistant to the president, worked in President Barack Obama’s administration.
Vietor hosts, “Pod Save the World,” one of the top 100 news and politics podcasts on iTunes. He was joined by Rhodes for their April 17 episode, where they highlighted the arrest and indictment of Assange.
Both were in the Obama administration when WikiLeaks published their most high-profile disclosures from Chelsea Manning in 2010, and they displayed a fundamental misunderstanding of WikiLeaks. But that is largely owed to their bias from working for the United States government.
“The motivation [to release diplomatic cables] was just to embarrass the United States and the United States government,” Rhodes contended. “Even if you’re not a fan of U.S. foreign policy or the United States government, that’s just a different motivation than a journalist wanting to shine a light on abuse or corruption, and it’s something that we have to reckon with, that it endangers people’s lives.”
“And of course Russia likes that kind of thing. Because Russia as much as anyone else wants the blueprints for how civil society is operating around the world and how democratic activists are operating around the world,” Rhodes continued. “So to me, this is why it’s so important for me to say there’s a difference between a news outlet that’s going to do the actual work of separating out the news from what can be harmful and something like WikiLeaks, where this guy just wants to be the center of attention and frankly probably allowed his organization to be taken over in a way by Russia to service Russia’s very anti-democratic ends.”
Kevin Gosztola responded to Ben Rhodes and Tommy Vietor’s flawed assessment.
Read his article at Medium.