WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange floated the possibility on Tuesday that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer was an informant for the organization.
"Whistleblowers often take very significant efforts to bring us material and often at very significant risks," Assange said in an interview to be aired Tuesday on the Dutch television program Nieuwsuur. "There’s a 27-year-old who works for the DNC and who was shot in the back, murdered, just a few weeks ago, for unknown reasons as he was walking down the streets in Washington."
Seth Rich, a DNC employee who did voter outreach, was shot to death last month early in the morning in Washington, D.C. The case is unsolved and police have speculated it was an attempted robbery.
On Reddit, Rich's death has become the source of theories about whether he was involved in the leaks of emails and files from the Democratic National Committee last month. US intelligence officials have linked the leak to a Russian hack, though there has been no official conclusion on the matter.
"I am suggesting that our sources take risks and they become concerned to see things occurring like that," Assange added, when asked what he was alleging. "We don’t comment on who our sources are."
Asked by interviewer Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal why he would speculate about someone being shot, Assange said it showed "our sources face serious risks."
"We have to understand how high the stakes are in the US, and that our sources face serious risks. That’s why they come to us, so we can protect their anonymity," he said.
The WikiLeaks founder then stated he was merely investigating what happened.
"We are investigating what happened with Seth Rich. We think it is a concerning situation," Assange said. "There is not a conclusion yet; we are not willing to state a conclusion, but we are concerned about it. And more importantly, a variety of WikiLeaks sources are concerned when that kind of thing happens."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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