Clinton, whose own 21st Century Statecraft initiative has supported dissidents in oppressive regimes around the world, has defended America’s track record of standing up for freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly amid criticism from Assange and others.
“But when an organization – and you mentioned WikiLeaks – when an organization steals information, which is what happened, that is – just because they put it on an internet doesn’t make it any more right than if they had passed it out on a street corner,” said Clinton in the November 2011 interview.
“So there still has to be a fundamental respect for and a real benefit of the doubt given to freedom, but there also has to be certain standards, expectations, rules that have to continue to be recognized.”
WikiLeaks recently returned to the spotlight for its release of thousands of private emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor, which it obtained through a hack by the hacktivist collective Anonymous in December 2011.
WikiLeaks has also been under a banking blockade by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union since December 2010.