WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed the U.S.-backed intelligence report claiming Russian hackers targeted the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in order to sway the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump.
In news conference on Monday morning from London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, Assange described the report as a mere “press release” and “embarrassing to the reputation of the US intelligence services,” according to CNN. The conference was broadcast live via Periscope.
Last week, several U.S. intelligence agencies released a report, titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” claiming the GRU Russian intelligence agency “used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyberoperations publicly.”
But Assange contends the report is of poor quality.
“It was not an intelligence report,” Assange said, as Fox reported. “It does not have the structure of an intelligence report. It does not have the structure of a Presidential Daily Brief. It was frankly quite embarrassing.”
He continued: “It was clearly designed for political effect.”
The report concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin had his hands all over the hacking attempts. “We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence … relayed material to WikiLeaks,” the report said.
The report, however, doesn’t even “make assertions” and “uses speculative terms,” Assange argued.
“How good a report is it as an intelligence report from 1 to 10? The evidentiary weight is literally zero. There is no evidence of any kind supplied,” he said.
Assange and WikiLeaks operative Craig Morgan have stressed that Russian intelligence operatives weren’t the source of leaks published by the anti-secrecy organization. The website published leaked emails sourced from the Democratic National Committee, and—more infamously—it published damning emails from Clinton campaign chief John Podesta’s Gmail account.
“We haven’t said whether we know or don’t know our sources. We have made one statement, and that the election material is not from a state party,” Assange said.