Assange hits back after hack report

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (John Stillwell, AP)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. (John Stillwell, AP)

London - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange insisted on Monday that the leaked Democratic Party material they published before the US presidential election did not come from the Russian government.

A report from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released on Friday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering the operation in which computer hackers stole Democratic Party files and fed them to WikiLeaks.

US intelligence agencies said Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a campaign of hacking and media manipulation to upend the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"This is a press release. It's clearly designed for political effect," Assange said in an online press conference.

"No evidence of anything is presented anywhere in the report."

The Australian former computer hacker has been inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012 in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

Assange said its leaked material did not come from the Russian government, but declined to say where it did come from.

"Even if you accept that Russian intelligence services hacked Democratic Party institutions in the United States, it is normal for intelligence services to hack each other's political parties."

Russian, but not government

"Even if you accepted that... you have to ask the question: what was the intent of those Russian hacks and do they connect to our publication or is it simply incidental?

"We haven't said whether we know or whether we don't know our sources... Our sources in the US election matter are not a state party."

Hackers took thousands of emails and documents from the computers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and from Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, which were published by WikiLeaks in the weeks ahead of the November 8 presidential election.

The releases embarrassed the party and harmed the losing candidate Clinton's White House bid.

"WikiLeaks sources in relation to John Podesta emails and the DNC leak are not members of any government, they are not state parties, they do not come from the Russian government," said Assange.

The Kremlin on Monday branded the US intelligence report as baseless and amateurish, saying Moscow was growing tired of denying claims that the Russian government meddled in the US election.

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