Hillary Clinton has told an Australian state broadcaster that WlkiLeaks founder Julian Assange was a tool of Russia in his release of hacked emails that hurt the US Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign.
Clinton told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview broadcast on Monday that the Australian whistleblower had “become a kind of nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator,” Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He’s a tool of Russian intelligence, and if he’s such a ... martyr of free speech, why doesn’t WikiLeaks ever publish anything coming out of Russia?” she said.
Clinton was complaining about WikiLeaks’ publication during the 2016 election campaign of politically damaging emails from the Democratic National Committee.
Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, hit back at Clinton’s interview, tweeting that she was “not a credible person.”
“It is not just her constant lying. It is not just that she throws off menacing glares and seethes thwarted entitlement,” he tweeted. “Watch closely. Something much darker rides along with it. A cold creepiness rarely seen.”
In the interview, Clinton rejected reporter Sarah Ferguson’s proposition that Assange was simply performing a journalist’s role by publishing information.
“There was a concerted operation between WikiLeaks and Russia and most likely people in the United States to, as I say, weaponize that information, to make up stories, outlandish, often terrible stories that had no basis in fact, no basis even in the emails themselves, but which were used to denigrate me, my campaign, people who supported me, and to help (Donald) Trump,” Clinton said.
“WikiLeaks is unfortunately now practically a fully owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence,” she said.