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CNN Report Fuels Questions About Assange's Meetings

Records show he met with Russians; did he know who he was meeting with?
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2019 7:11 AM CDT
In this Wednesday May 1, 2019 photo, buildings are reflected in the window as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is taken from court, where he appeared on charges of jumping British bail seven years ago,...   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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(Newser) – The former president of Ecuador who allowed Julian Assange to take refuge in the country's London embassy has admitted that the country's guest meddled in the United States' 2016 election. "We did notice that he was interfering in the elections and we do not allow that because we have principles, very clear values," Rafael Correa told CNN on Tuesday. "We are not going to allow that to happen with a foreign country and friend like the US." The "we do not allow that" bit doesn't jibe with CNN's report from a day prior, which relied on hundreds of surveillance records that detailed meetings that could stretch for hours between Assange and both Russians and elite hackers "at critical moments" and found Assange upgraded his "computing and network hardware ... just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives."

At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum gets at the crux of what matters here: The records came from UC Global, a private Spanish security company enlisted by Ecuador to surveil Assange in the embassy. That the records show Assange had regular interaction with Russian agents isn't a surprise, he writes, but what's long been debated is whether Assange knew who they were. Drum observes that CNN's report contains a single sentence to that end; it states UC Global's report "concluded there was 'no doubt that there is evidence' that Assange had ties to Russian intelligence agencies." But none of that evidence is elaborated on. "This is a mighty big accusation to hang on a mighty small excerpt," writes Drum. Count Shadowproof among the skeptics; the Washington Monthly is more aligned with CNN's take. (Read more Julian Assange stories.)

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