IF SO, WHAT WILL HE SAY?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 8, 2018) — The open-government non-profit WikiLeaks said Wednesday on Twitter that its founder, Julian Assange, has been invited by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to provide private testimony regarding alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The organization posted a letter dated August 1, 2018 appearing to be from the committee with the heading “Committee Sensitive” at the top. On Wednesday afternoon The Post & Email attempted unsuccessfully to contact the committee’s media representative to verify the report.
For more than a year, the committee and its U.S. House of Representatives counterpart have been investigating matters pertaining to Russia in the wake of a U.S. intelligence-community report from January 2017 claiming that Russian operatives impersonated Americans online, organized rallies and paid for advertisements to impact the outcome of the election.
The report, compiled by three agencies (CIA, FBI and NSA), said, in part, that “Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”
While the U.S. intelligence community has said that the server of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was breached by Russian cyber-attackers, resulting in the transfer to WikiLeaks of thousands of unflattering emails just before its convention, Assange has insisted that no “state party,” including Russia, provided him with the emails.
In its tweet announcing the invitation, WikiLeaks wrote, “US Senate Intelligence Committee calls editor
@JulianAssange to testify. Letter delivered via US embassy in London. WikiLeaks’ legal team say they are “considering the offer but the conditions must conform to a high ethical standard”. Also: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/19/uk-should-reject-extraditing-julian-assange-us …“
It is unclear how Assange might testify, given that he was offered political asylum by Ecuador in August 2012 and has lived at that nation’s London embassy since that time, unable to leave because of an outstanding arrest warrant by London police. Some reports say that since 2010, Assange has been under a cloud of indictment by a U.S. federal grand jury for publishing classified diplomatic cables and military documents allegedly provided by former Army Private Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Manning.
Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, who has said on his website and Twitter that he “knows” that slain DNC data director Seth Rich was involved in providing the emails to WikiLeaks, tweeted late Wednesday afternoon that the committee’s invitation for Assange to testify signifies that “The Clinton funded Russia hoax is coming to an end. His name was #SethRich.”
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.