In an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said plainly that Russia was not the source of the 2016 election leaks from the DNC and other individual Democratic figures.
“Our source is not the Russian government,” Assange told Hannity.
“So in other words, let me be clear,” Hannity asked, “Russia did not give you the Podesta documents or anything from the DNC?”
“That’s correct,” Assange responded.
The interview comes at a time when U.S. mainstream media has come to a consensus — albeit without presenting any hard evidence — that Russia is not only behind the leaks that harmed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, but that Vladimir Putin personally intended the leaks to help elect Donald Trump.
These claims, first asserted by anonymous CIA and intelligence officials speaking to the Washington Post and the New York Times, have since been challenged by other intelligence officials, the FBI, and journalists.
Adding further intrigue to the mystery that surrounds the source of the leaks is former British ambassador and close associate of WikiLeaks, Craig Murray, who says the leaks actually came from a whistleblower within the Democratic Party.
“Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,” Murray reportedly told the Daily Mail on Tuesday. “The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.”
Murray claimed to have personally secured the leaks from an intermediary in a Washington D.C. wooded area near American University and said the whistleblower’s motivation for leaking the information was due to “disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.”
This is not the first time Craig Murray has made these assertions. In early November, Murray told Sputnik (Russian state-funded media) in an audio interview:
“The source of these emails and leaks has nothing to do with Russia at all. I discovered what the source was when I attended the Sam Adam’s whistleblower award in Washington. The source of these emails comes from within official circles in Washington D.C. You should look to Washington, not to Moscow.”
This leads us to the question: Who is this potential insider that leaked the information to WikiLeaks? Nobody really knows, but many conspiracy theorists have speculated that it could have been DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was murdered in Washington D.C. on July 10th, 2016. This speculation was spurred by an interview Julian Assange gave with Dutch TV in August, which seemed to hint at Rich being the source.
Adding fuel to this theory was WikiLeaks itself, which put out a $20,000 reward for information surrounding Seth Rich’s murder shortly after his death.
While the mystery surrounding who leaked the data on Democratic party figures remains unsolved — and nobody has disputed the fact that governments maliciously hack each other for political reasons — it’s clear that the only people with knowledge of the leaks to step forward publicly are disputing the media’s narrative that Russia hacked the election to benefit Donald Trump.