Hillary Clinton has some strong words for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp. that aired today, the former Democratic presidential nominee described Assange as "a tool of Russian intelligence."
WikiLeaks plagued Clinton's candidacy for months by releasing tens of thousands of emails from her campaign. On October 7, just one hour after the Access Hollywood tape came to light, WikiLeaks began releasing emails from the account of John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman.
Today Clinton said that Assange became "a kind of nihilistic opportunist who does the bidding of a dictator," referencing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"He’s a tool of Russian intelligence, and if he’s such a...martyr of free speech, why doesn’t WikiLeaks ever publish anything coming out of Russia?" Clinton added.
This isn't the first time the former Secretary of State has harshly criticized Assange, who's currently in the sanctuary of Ecuador's embassy due to myriad legal problems. In her new book What Happened, Clinton described Assange as "a hypocrite who deserves to be held accountable for his actions."
"He claims to be a champion of transparency, but for many years, he’s been helpful to Putin, one of the most repressive and least transparent autocrats in the world," she wrote.
Assange has repeatedly denied that WikiLeaks spreads Russian propaganda. He quickly took to Twitter to respond to Clinton's comments, describing the politician as "not a credible person."
"It is not just her constant lying. It is not just that she throws off menacing glares and seethes thwarted entitlement," Assange tweeted yesterday. "Watch closely. Something much darker rides along with it. A cold creepiness rarely seen."
While Assange remains holed up in Ecuador's embassy, WikiLeaks has been harshly criticized by the U.S. intelligence community. The whistle-blowing organization is also the subject of congressional investigations into 2016 Russian election interference. CIA Director Mike Pompeo denounced WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service" and former FBI Director James Comey described the organization's work as "intelligence porn."