WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange this week went on Dutch TV and suggested a recently-killed Democratic National Committee staffer was the source of a massive email leak from within the DNC.
“Whislteblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks,” Assange told a Nieuwsuur host. “There was a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered, just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington.”
Assange referred to Seth Rich, whose controversial and alleged murder early morning July 10 prompted the WikiLeaks editor in chief to post a $20,000 reward, adding to the D.C. police’s $25,000 offering.
ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016
“That was just a robbery, I believe, wasn’t it?” the host asked Assange.
“No, there’s no findings,” Assange said.
Skeptics have been quick to point out that nothing was stolen from Rich.
“What are you suggesting?” the host responded.
“I am suggesting that our sources take risks and they become concerned to see things occurring like that,” Assange said.
“But was he one of your sources, then?” the host asked.
Assange then said WikiLeaks doesn’t comment on who its sources are.
“We have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States and our sources face serious risks,” Assange said. “That’s why they come to us, so we can protect their anonymity.”
The Nieuwsuur host then offered Assange the gravity of his accusation – that Rich was killed in premeditated fashion.
“Well, others have suggested that,” Assange said. “We are investigating to understand what happened in that situation with Seth Rich. I think it is a concerning situation that there is not a conclusion … but we are concerned about it. More importantly, a variety of WikiLeaks sources are concerned when that kind of thing happens.”
WikiLeaks released its official statement on Twitter Wednesday, neither confirming nor denying that Rich was one of the sources of the DNC leak, which was one of many security compromises plaguing the party in recent months.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 11, 2016
Shortly before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last month, WikiLeaks published thousands of emails, causing four of the committee’s top officials to resign.