By John Helmer, Moscow
Adam Waldman, a Washington lobbyist, was authorized by Julian Assange in March of 2017 to set up a trip to Washington for Assange, and broad terms of discussion there between Assange and US Government officials of highly sensitive intelligence information, including US offers of assistance to protect Assange from “foreign espionage risks”. By that, Waldman meant Russia.
Waldman refused last week to discuss the details of his meetings with Assange and subsequent negotiations on Assange’s behalf in Washington. Late on Monday afternoon, Washington time, Waldman was reported as telling a US reporter: “Mr. Assange offered to provide technical evidence and discussion regarding who did not engage in the DNC releases. Finally, he offered his technical expertise to the U.S. government to help address what he perceived as clear flaws in security systems that led to the loss of the U.S. cyber weapons program.” By “clear flaws” Assange appears to have meant flaws clear to Russia.
For Sunday’s story of the four tenors and the songs they were singing, read this .
The four stuck to stonewalling through Monday. However, at 5:45 pm Washington time, John Solomon, a journalist at TheHill.com, a specialist publication on the US Government and Congress, published a report in which Waldman revealed the extent of the disclosures Assange was offering and the rewards the US Department of Justice was considering in return. Waldman gave Solomon an interview, and also provided his emails with Justice Department officials covering the negotiations with Assange. Read the story here .
Waldman’s new tale makes it appear that although he was the go-between for Assange in London and US Government officials in Washington, the initiative may have been one which Waldman and Justice Department officials discussed before Waldman began meeting Assange in January 2017. Waldman told TheHill.com “in January 2017… Assange’s legal team approached Waldman.”
Waldman is now claiming in print that these were the terms of disclosure which Assange, the Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had agreed by March 28, 2017: “Subject to adequate and binding protections, including but not limited to an acceptable immunity and safe passage agreement, Mr Assange welcomes the opportunity to discuss with the US government risk mitigation approaches relating to CIA documents in Wikileaks’ possession or control, such as the redaction of agency personnel in hostile jurisdictions and foreign espionage risks to Wikileaks staff. Derived directly from this discussion of risk mitigation, Mr Assange is also prepared to discuss (within the source protection boundaries expected of a journalist and publisher operating at the highest level of integrity) (i) a description of CIA information in the possession or control of Wikileaks; (ii) the risks of third parties who may have obtained access to such information (not withstanding the foregoing, for the avoidance of doubt this category specifically and others generally will not include any information that may effect [sic] Wikileaks obligations to protect its sources) and (iii) information regarding the timing of further publications in so far they relate to the risk mitigation approaches developed”.
Waldman now says also that a Justice Department official he was working with “played to Assange’s belief that he was a publisher… he put an offer on the table from the intelligence community to help Assange assess how some hostile foreign powers might be infiltrating or harming WikiLeaks staff.”
According to Waldman on Monday, “Mr. Assange offered to provide technical evidence and discussion regarding who did not engage in the DNC releases. Finally, he offered his technical expertise to the U.S. government to help address what he perceived as clear flaws in security systems that led to the loss of the U.S. cyber weapons program.”
TheHill.com claims that an attempt was made by James Comey, then head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to “end the discussions”. This was in mid-February 2017. Waldman does not say what Comey’s reason was.
According to Waldman, Comey was overruled by lower-ranking Justice Department officials who called Comey’s attempt “bullshit”. They told Waldman, according to Waldman, to keep negotiating with Assange. The Justice Department officials whom Waldman names this week as his counterparts in the Assange deal – Bruce Ohr , David Laufman  – have been reported as linked to the production of materials alleging Russian collusion in the Trump presidential campaign.
Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s London lawyer, declined to comment on Waldman’s new disclosures.