Speed Reads


Julian Assange, Sean Hannity try to discuss Russian hacking

Fox News broadcast Sean Hannity's interview with WikiLeaks' Julian Assange on Tuesday night, and Hannity asked about the FBI and Department of Homeland Security's Joint Analysis Report on Russian interference in the U.S. election that was released on Dec. 29. During the election, WikiLeaks published emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee right before the Democrats' convention, then dripped out mostly anodyne emails hacked from the personal email account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta over the weeks leading up to the campaign, but published nothing about Donald Trump or the Republican Party.

If you want to read about the shortcomings of the FBI-DHS report on Russian hacking — and why intelligence officials may have left some stuff out — Ars Technica has a good article. If you want to see two men with different agendas and worldviews but a common dislike for Clinton trying to make their points, the Hannity-Assange interview is interesting.

Neither man was impressed with the JAR. "On the top, there is a disclaimer saying nothing — there is no guarantee that any of this information is accurate," Assange said. "It's a guess," Hannity chimed in, and Assange looked a little pained and shook his head. "I used to be a computer security expert," he said. "What they have is what they call indicators. So, a way to recognize if these tools, these alleged Russian tools, have been used on your system."

Assange shifted to a story about a utility company in Vermont, not part of the FBI-DHS report but touted by The Washington Post, that is at best tangential to the Russian election hacking, arguing, "Straight out of the back, we either have a deliberate attempt to mislead or thoroughly incompetent work." Hannity wasn't interested, and turned the conversation to Clinton's private email server. Assange said that if you read Clinton's emails and the FBI reports on them, "she made almost no attempt to keep them secure from states — now, was she trying to keep them secure from the Republicans? Well, probably."

Clinton handed all emails her lawyers deemed work-related to the State Department, which released them all before the election — and if foreign governments hacked the other emails, as Trump requested in July, they kept them to themselves. "We believe people have the right to know true information about what the government is doing," Assange told Hannity, and to show that WikiLeaks isn't partisan, he noted that his organization once published the private work-related emails of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a Republican.