Hillary Clinton — among the high-profile targets of WikiLeaks' explosive document drops over the years — told a New York crowd Thursday that Julian Assange must "answer for what he has done" after his Thursday arrest.
London police arrested Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, on Thursday, the same day the Justice Department released an indictment alleging Assange conspired with ex-Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to steal classified government documents.
"The bottom line is he has to answer for what he has done," said Clinton, who said she would "wait and see what happens." The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee shared the Beacon Theater stage with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
She stressed the charge against Assange, who faces a count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, shouldn't be seen as an affront to journalism. Assange's supporters often defend his publication of private message and secret government documents in the name of journalism. Others, however, such as the U.S. government, consider him a criminal.
“It is clear from the indictment that came out, it’s not about punishing journalism," Clinton said. "It’s about assisting the hacking of the military computer to steal information from the United States government.”
WikiLeaks exposed parts of Clinton's presidential campaign, including potential running mates, when in 2016 it released 2,000 emails from her campaign manager John Podesta. U.S. intelligence later determined the messages were stolen by hackers working for the Russian government.