Assange: We Did Not Conspire With Our Source

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds up his legal papers as he addresses the media outside the High Court in central London, December 16, 2010.
Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty
Freed on bail from a London jail, Julian Assange said this morning that WikiLeaks by its very nature does not know the identities of its sources, and that he never conspired with the U.S. Army private who is the alleged source of classified U.S. Embassy cables, which WikiLeaks then passed on to other media organizations.

Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," the founder of WikiLeaks said, "I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press. Wikileaks' technology [was] designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material. That is, in the end, the only way the sources can be guaranteed that they remain anonymous, as far as we are concerned."

To that end, Assange also denied that he had solicited any material from Manning or others, or had helped in the taking of material classified secret by the U.S. government.

The whistleblower who has been both praised and vilified for leaking sensitive government documents, also alleged that Swedish officials are withholding evidence that would prove the sexual assault accusations against him represent a "set-up."

He said the case being brought forth by Swedish prosecutors seeking his extradition from England is "entirely exotic and unusual."

Assange also said charges that he'd sexually assaulted two women were dropped for lack of evidence before being revived by politicians. He claims Swedish officials are withholding evidence that could clear his name.

"There are intercepted SMS messages between the women and each other and their friends," Assange said. "Those SMS messages, the Swedish prosecutor has refused to release. In fact, stated that my lawyer, who was shown the messages by the police, is gagged from speaking about them.

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He said this morning that the initial charges against him were dropped within 24 hours. "It wasn't until a politician in Sweden became involved and went to a regional prosecutor, that the investigation was raised. I still have not been charged with anything. This is an extradition warrant that is highly exotic and unusual. And it seeks, singly, to have a conversation with me in Sweden."

"The Swedish government stated that it didn't need to provide a single piece of evidence to the court, in fact, didn't provide a single piece of evidence to back up its allegations.

"We're not just talking about evidence, in terms of physical objects - we're talking, not even a single word of the allegations themselves," he said.

On the release of the U.S. cables, Assange defended the work of WikiLeaks, and said that with regard to revelations that may affect the Mideast peace process and nuclear negotiations with Iran, "It seems to be a step forward. In fact, I would say, in general, it is a step forward that everyone be on the same page and not to be running around behind each others' backs, telling lies about each other. That is something that has been revealed by this material. And a lot of countries are looking on that favorably."

When asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos whether he was an "anarchist," Assange replied, "absolutely not."

"We can look at my long-term endeavors, all the way to 1993, when I started piloting the Internet industry in Australia, bringing knowledge to the people. And that's been a firm foundation for us to build credible and humane institutions."

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.

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