During an interview with GZERO Media, "The Intercept" founder Glenn Greenwald shares his concerns about the way WikiLeaks operates and explains why Edward Snowden chose to work with journalists instead of dumping a vast unedited cache of documents online. He says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a complicated figure but on the whole, does positive work.
"Julian sees himself as an adversary of intelligence agencies and therefore views himself as using many of the same tactics that they use, which is necessary, in his opinion, to be a formidable adversary," he said.
"Yes, I am a proponent, on balance, of what WikiLeaks has done for transparency, but we have very serious differences about how information should make its way to the public," Greenwald said, criticizing the way John Podesta's emails were published without context or redaction. "When they began, they actually redacted a lot. People forget that the Iraq War logs, the Afghanistan war logs, the diplomatic cables that they published in their original form were heavily redacted because they worked with the New York Times and the Guardian. They actually asked the State Department to meet with them to talk about information that should be redacted. It is only recently that they became proponents of full-scale indiscriminate publishing."
"What is important to realize about Julian Assange is he has been inside [the Ecuadorian embassy in London] for seven years. That, in a lot of ways, is worse than prison. At least prisoners get to go outside for an hour a day and have the sun fall onto their bodies, which physiologically we need, our bodies crave and require that. It is almost impossible to be a physically and mentally healthy person if you're never exposed to the sun."
"He was created to be a dissident, and dissidents I think, just like great artists or other people who achieve great fame and power, they very attributes that allow them to be extraordinary in positive ways also generally produce very negative aspects as well, and I think the conditions he suffered over the past seven years... have really exacerbated the worst parts of his personality," he continued.
"On balance, I would absolutely say that they continue to perform a very positive role in the world," Greenwald stated. "I'll just give you the most controversial example, what they did in 2016. Notwithstanding the fact that I would not have published all of those materials... We don't know who gave Julian those documents or what he thought about who it was that was giving those documents to him. Obviously, one of the more despicable things he did was exploit the murder of Seth Rich... I don't think anyone could possibly defend that... Julian sees himself as an adversary of intelligence agencies and therefore views himself as using many of the same tactics that they use, which is necessary, in his opinion, to be a formidable adversary."
"Like so many revolutionary leaders in history have done, but nonetheless, if you look at what [the DNC leaks] disclosures were, they lead to the resignation of the top five officials of the Democratic National Committee because they proved those officials were violating their oath to the public by pretending to be a neutral body overseeing the Democratic primary... They also made CNN fire one of its most prominent commentators, Donna Brazile, because she got caught cheating by handing debate questions [to Hillary Clinton]... Also speeches Hillary Clinton is giving to Goldman Sachs, what she is telling Wall Street, that's obviously in the public interest and the proof of that is every major media outlet... dissected and analyzed and reported on those documents because they all decided they were in the public interest."