Democrats who start screaming “Russia, Russia, Russia!” whenever WikiLeaks releases something they’d prefer not to hear need to unplug their ears, wipe the foam from their mouths, and have a look at that report their hero Robert Mueller issued.
Because it doesn’t say what they think it does.
For starters, while Mueller does try to make us believe that Russian agents passed documents to WikiLeaks, at no point does he suggest that Julian Assange or anyone else from his organization so much as suspected they were dealing with any spooks, Russian or otherwise.
Even if everything Mueller says is true – which you’ll soon realize is about as likely as Joe Biden winning a Nobel Prize for his a theory of quantum gravity and remembering to wear pants at the ceremony – there’s no reason whatsoever to believe that WikiLeaks did anything different than what the New York Times, Washington Post, or CNN regularly does when they publish anonymously sourced material.
Well, nothing besides the files WikiLeaks published being authentic, at any rate.
Indeed, we know for a fact that Gawker and The Smoking Gun both published documents they obtained from the very same alleged Russian spy that Mueller only claims sent documents to WikiLeaks. Yet for some reason no one has even thought to suggest that either outlet is fronting for Russian intelligence.
The only evidence Mueller presents that Assange got any files at all from Russia involves an anonymous blogger who went by the name Guccifer 2.0.
G2, as he’s frequently called, appeared out of nowhere on June 15, 2016 making a huge public show by sending various media outlets documents he boasted he’d hacked from the DNC and posting them in an over-the-top, spectacularly vainglorious, first entry in his newly-minted blog.
According to Mueller, G2 was a fake identity created by a group of Russian intelligence officers trying to pass themselves off as an arrogant and attention-hungry, lone-wolf Romanian hacker.
Mueller gives us around a half dozen mostly very expurgated quotes allegedly from online messages between G2 and WikiLeaks and claims one of G2’s had an encrypted attachment and another the key necessary to decrypt it.
And that’s it. That’s literally the only evidence Mueller has given that WikiLeaks got any files from Russia.
Mueller also does his best to leave the impression that the encrypted file contained the DNC emails WikiLeaks began publishing just 8 days later. Though he’s careful never to actually come right out and says that it did.
Luckily for Mueller, the Russian spies running the G2 identity made innuendo easier by conveniently labeling the encryption key “wk dnc link1.txt.gpg” so, if the files containing documents they’d stolen from the DNC in one of history’s most significant espionage operations happened to be intercepted, everyone would know exactly what it was for.
As we’ll see, this is by no means the only time those Russian spies made Mueller’s job easier. In fact, in several cases the helping hand they lent was so useful that Mueller kept any mention of it out of his report.
But, returning to the question of whether Assange believed he was dealing with Russian spies, nothing about any of the communications that Mueller provides even remotely suggests that he or anyone else from his organization had even the slightest suspicion that they were.
That’s probably why Mueller never suggests they did and one reason the Justice Department didn’t indict Julian Assange for anything relating to the Clinton campaign emails Wikileaks published in the 2016 election.
In fact, Mueller claims that WikiLeaks initiated contact with G2 one week after he made his splashy public debut via a direct message over Twitter that said:
Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.
Apart from sounding like Assange didn’t know anything more about G2 than anyone else, that one file Mueller claims G2 sent Assange that constitutes his sole evidence that WikiLeaks got any files from Russia was also sent via a Twitter direct message.
But it would be tough to suggest anything more preposterous than that Julian Assange would communicate with and receive files from someone he believed to be a Russian intelligence agent over Twitter since:
- Their communications wouldn’t be unencrypted and could be read by unfriendly eyes – as it seems they were.
- The content would legally belong to Twitter, who could turn them over to U.S authorities without a warrant – as, again, seems to have occurred.
- Twitter could deny WikiLeaks access to the messages – as they actually did when they shut down G2’s account
- And, even worse, the Twitter account Mueller claims Assange used is verified. So there’d be no way to deny WikiLeaks was the party with whom the Russian spies were communicating.
Even a genius like Assange would have trouble devising anything stupider than using a verified social media account to communicate with someone he believed to be a Russian spy, let alone to receive files from him.
But, as you might have suspected from Mueller’s bizarre assertion that Russian spies on a mission from Vladimir Putin to control the outcome of the United States presidential election were using Twitter to conduct their most important and risky communications and even went so far as to helpfully include a reference to WikiLeaks and the organization they’d hacked in the encryption key they sent, virtually nothing Mueller says is true.
Not only is he withholding vital information in the public record which renders his allegation that G2 was a Russian spy preposterous. Facts he himself admits about WikiLeaks DNC emails also make it impossible that the file he claims G2 sent them could have contained them as he wants us to believe.
Assange has claimed all along that the DNC emails were leaked by an insider, not hacked. Whatever one thinks of him, it doesn’t appear that he’s ever been caught in a lie. Whereas Mueller’s history of public service is decidedly less unblemished.
Furthermore, Julian Assange is the only known person who has any direct knowledge of where the DNC emails he released in the runup to the 2016 election came from. But, even though their theft is the central event his entire investigation revolves around, Mueller made no attempt to interview Assange. Given the way Mueller relentlessly pursued General Flynn and Roger Stone over lies that were at worst trivial and in some cases never even occurred, even if he didn’t expect Assange to be truthful his failure to even try to question him is a huge red flag.