WikiLeaks plans to release documents pertaining to Google and the US electoral system over the next 10 weeks, the organization announced today. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced the planned release schedule in a video address at the end of a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday morning, where the organization was celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Assange said the forthcoming documents will pertain to Google, the US presidential election, arms trading, war, oil, and mass surveillance. The organization plans to release them on a weekly basis over the next ten weeks, with Assange saying that all information related to the US presidential race will be published before election day on November 8th.
There was a lot of build-up to today's press conference, in anticipation of what had been billed as an "October surprise" that could swing the US presidential election. Instead, WikiLeaks devoted most of the event to recounting its most notorious releases and responding to criticism levied against it. Assange acknowledged the anticipation of a bombshell release in a winding address to reporters, though he declined to say whether the upcoming leaks would tilt the election toward Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
"There is enormous expectation in the United States."
"There is enormous expectation in the United States," Assange said of the forthcoming leaks. "Some of that expectation will be partly answered; but you should understand that if we're going to make a major publication in relation to the United States at a particular hour, we don't do it at 3AM."
The upcoming releases would follow WikiLeaks' publication in July of more than 19,000 emails from seven top officials in the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The emails, which included full names, phone numbers, and addresses, suggested that the DNC favored Clinton over her primary rival, Bernie Sanders, and led to the resignation of chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. WikiLeaks did not disclose the source of the emails, but the leak was published one month after the DNC announced that its servers were compromised by Russian hackers.
Assange originally planned to announce today's release from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been living in asylum since 2012. But WikiLeaks canceled his appearance this week, citing "security concerns." Authorities in Sweden have sought to question Assange since 2010 over a rape allegation, but the Australian national has dismissed the investigation as a pretext to extradite him to the US.
Prior to today's announcement, Republican operatives had touted the WikiLeaks release as potentially devastating to the Clinton campaign. On Sunday, Roger Stone, a surrogate for the Donald Trump campaign, tweeted that the Democratic nominee would be "done" on Wednesday, following the WikiLeaks announcement.
Asked whether the upcoming releases would "destroy" Clinton, Assange appeared to downplay expectations. "Are upcoming publications significant in relation to the US election? Yeah, we think they're significant," he said. "Do they show interesting features of US power factions and how they operate? Yes, they do."
Assange also denied accusations that he and his organization are specifically targeting Clinton and the Democratic Party. "I certainly feel sorry for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump," he said. "These are two people who are tormented by their ambitions, in different ways."