WikiLeaks released a statement Wednesday night to say that as a matter of policy, it does not release the identities of its sources.
The statement comes in the wake of remarks made Tuesday by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who floated the theory that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich may have been killed because he was leaking documents to WikiLeaks.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 11, 2016
“Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material, and often very significant risks. There’s a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, who was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington,” Assange said on the Dutch program Nieuwsuur.
Nieuwsuur anchor Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal responded, “That was just a robbery, I believe — wasn’t it?”
“No, there’s no finding,” Assange said. “I’m suggesting that our sources take risks, and they become concerned to see things occurring like that.”
“Why make the suggestion about a young guy being shot in the streets of Washington?” van Rosenthal asked.
“Because we have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States,” Assange said, “and that our sources face serious risks. That’s why they come to us, so we can protect their anonymity.”
D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department has not released a motive to the killing, but Rich’s father told Omaha CBS-affiliate KMTV he did not believe it was a robbery because nothing was stolen from his on: a watch, money, credit cards and phone remained with the DNC staffer, when he was found.
“I think it is a concerning situation. There isn’t a conclusion yet. We wouldn’t be able to state a conclusion, but we are concerned about it,” he continued.
“More importantly, a variety of WikiLeaks sources are concerned when that kind of thing happens,” said Assange who later offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for murdering Rich.
WikiLeaks published almost 20,000 emails in July from DNC staffers that showed the party organization favored Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic presidential primary. As a result of what was revealed, a number of DNC officials, including Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned from their posts.