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article imageWikiLeaks' Assange claims smear campaign, leaves interview

By Michael Krebs     Dec 18, 2010 in Internet
Claiming the Swedish rape charges levied against him are the work of a smear campaign, a visibly testy Julian Assange faces media probes on the allegations and attempts to brush them off as tabloid news.
In a terse television interview with ABC News, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused the reporter of being a "tabloid schmuck" after Assange was asked about the rape allegations levied against him by the Swedish government. Assange claims the forced sex charges are a smear campaign - and that he has the documents to prove it.
"There are intercepted SMS messages between the women and each other and their friends that I am told represent a set-up," Assange told ABC's "Good Morning America."
But the Swedish charges have been serious enough to hold Assange for days in a British jail. While he was granted bail, there remains a string of unfinished business with prosecutors from the United States government under the Espionage Act over the damaging document releases Assange's WikiLeaks promoted.
However, the US government's potential prosecution may emerge on shaky grounds.
"Leaks of classified information to the press have only rarely been punished as crimes, and we are aware of no case in which a publisher of information obtained through unauthorized disclosure by a government employee has been prosecuted for publishing it," a Congressional Research Service report said, according to AFP.
But Mr. Assange views the leaks as necessary work.
"Security officers have a job to keep things secret, the press has the job to expose the public to the truth. So that is our job. We're doing it. The fact that state department was not able to do their job is a matter for them," Assange said, according to ABC News.
Assange has been ordered by the Swedish government not to disclose any counterbalancing evidence on the rape case against him. The WikiLeaks chief claims the rape stories are "tabloid crap."
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