I read Jonathan David Farley's commentary and was struck by his obviously intentional omissions concerning Julian Assange's complicity with the Russian assault on the American electoral system in 2016. Perhaps prior to the 2016 presidential campaign an opinion piece like Mr. Farley's could have had some basis to argue that Mr. Assange had some small redeeming value. Post 2016, this article reads like old news.
Every United States intelligence agency has concluded that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange worked hand-in-hand with the Russians as they interfered in our 2016 election. During the summer of that year to the delight of Donald Trump, Jonathan David Farley's hero released into the American election the hacked emails of the Hillary Clinton campaign and subsequently those of John Podesta, her campaign chairman (“Julian Assange is a hero,” April 16). In great detail, Robert Mueller's indictment filed in July 2018 includes details on how the Russians and a Russian cyber spy identified only as Guccifer 2.0 passed these emails on to WikiLeaks which dumped them at various times that benefited the Trump campaign. Other than Mr. Farley, who can ever forget that on the very same day in October, 2016 when the Access Hollywood tape was broadcast, Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks released the Podesta emails clearly as a diversion for the Trump campaign to take attention away from the Access Hollywood story.
Julian Assange and Russia have worked together at least since 2012 when he appeared regularly on air for Russian television. There is little debate that RT is Vladimir Putin's principal propaganda organ. Despite the sordid corruption and ironclad autocracy of the Russian government, not once has WikiLeaks and its founder disseminated secret or classified information concerning Russia. Mr. Farley opines that there must be a pushback against those who seek to silence the truth-tellers. Except his premise that Julian Assange is a truth-teller is not truthful in and of itself.
The attack on the American election of 2016 was a serious invasion by our chief adversary and Mr. Assange was a tool of President Putin's intelligence operation. I do not know how the author of this op-ed defines a hero but the conduct exhibited by Mr. Assange in 2016 was neither admirable or noble. His conduct was not courageous, it was dishonest. To my mind, any person who seeks to undermine American institutions and influence a presidential election at the behest of our greatest foe is anything but a hero.
Joel C. Richmond, Baltimore