Assange says WikiLeaks didn't get emails from Russia

An email published by WikiLeaks details a phishing attempt on Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Video provided by Newsy Newslook

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied Thursday that Russia was the source of leaked emails from Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.

Democrats have said the emails were obtained from Russian hackers and were fed to the whistle-blower website to sabotage Clinton's electoral hopes. Last month, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying the U.S. intelligence community was "confident" the Russian government directed the leaks.

"These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process," the statement said.

Assange dismissed the claim. He said WikiLeaks' goals are to maximize the use of information it releases and to protect the identity of its sources.

“The original sources of the Podesta emails are Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and his correspondents," Assange said in a statement.

Normally Wikileaks reveals no information on sources, but he said he felt compelled to rule out "any state" as the source of the Podesta leaks. Russian officials also have denied any connection to the leaks.

“Saying nothing leads to a vacuum into which false claims about our sources can be projected," Assange said in a statement. "We tolerate such claims until they are used to distract from the publication."

He said he was confident that eliminating governments as the source of the leak would not jeopardize the true source of the leaks.

Marsha Catron of the Department of Homeland Security told USA TODAY the agency had nothing further to add on Assange's statement.

The Associated Press noted that Assange's statement did not eliminate the possibility that the information was passed from Russia to another party who passed it to WikiLeaks.

Assange, who founded Wikileaks a decade ago, was under investigation on sexual assault charges in 2012 when he sought and was granted asylum by Ecuador. Assange, who claims he is a victim of political persecution, has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than four years.


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