Wikileaks’s Julian Assange Adds to Conspiracy Theories Over Murder of DNC Staffer
In a strange twist in the case of a murdered DNC staffer, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange not only offered a $20,000 reward for information about the death, in an interview on Dutch TV, Assange mentioned the murder in the context of discussing the risks Wikileaks sources take.
Talking to the program “Nieuwsuur” (News Hour) on Aug. 9, aired by public Dutch broadcasters NOS and NTR, Assange said that “our sources take risks and they become concerned to see things occurring like that,” referring to the death of Seth Rich.
Rich, 27, worked as the Voter Expansion Data Director for the Democratic National Convention, was found shot to death on July 10 at 4:19 a.m. near his home in Bloomingdale, a neighborhood in Washington, D.C. Police said that Rich suffered from several gunshot wounds before being pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The incident is still being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide branch.
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) July 11, 2016
Rich’s murder has sparked a flurry of unproven conspiracy theories suggesting that his death was somehow related to his work for the DNC.
On Tuesday, Wikileaks added to those theories by offering a $20,000 reward for information related to Rich’s murder.
Wikileaks released nearly 20,000 emails by the DNC just days before the start of the Democratic National Convention. Some of the emails showed how the committee actively worked with the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in strategizing against her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.). The revelation led to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz as well as three other top DNC officials.
WikiLeaks Offers $20K Reward for Information in Murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich https://t.co/c0YARaemzL
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016
In the interview on “Nieuwsuur,” Assange was asked by host Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal—who was formerly a Dutch correspondent in Washington, D.C.—about whether Wikileaks is currently sitting on material that could significantly impact the U.S. presidential race.
“WikiLeaks never sits on material. Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. As a 27-year-old, who works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington,” Assange said in the interview.
In the interview, Assange declined to comment whether Rich is one of Wikileaks’ sources and when asked why he implied a connection, Assange said “our sources are, you know, our sources face serious risks.”
After Wikileaks announced a the reward for information regarding Rich’s death, his parents came out with a statement suggesting it could do more harm than good.
“The family welcomes any and all information that could lead to the identification of the individuals responsible, and certainly welcomes contributions that could lead to new avenues of investigation,” said Brad Bauman, a spokesperson for the Rich family in a statement to Business Insider.
“That said, some are attempting to politicize this horrible tragedy, and in their attempts to do so, are actually causing more harm than good and impeding on the ability for law enforcement to properly do their job,” the statement continued.
Bauman said the family is asking people to “refrain from pushing unproven and harmful theories about Seth’s murder.”