Julian Assange tells Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings that Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers, has been one of his strongest supporters. He doesn’t have kind words for Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times, which collaborated with WikiLeaks (for a time) to report on “The War Logs.” Keller described WikiLeaks as a source, not a collaborator, in a lengthy New York Times Magazine piece last year.
Keller was trying to save his own skin from the espionage investigation in two ways. First, on a legal technicality, by claiming that there was no collaboration, only a passive relationship between journalist and source. And second, by distancing themselves from us by attacking me personally, using all the standard tabloid character-assassination attacks. Many journalists at the Times have approached me to say how embarrassed they were at the lowering of the tone by doing that. Keller also came out and said how pleased the White House was with them that they had not run WikiLeaks material the White House had asked them not to. It is one thing to do that, and it’s another thing to proudly proclaim it. Why did Keller feel the need to tell the world how pleased the White House was with him? For the same reason he felt the need to describe how dirty my socks were. It is not to convey the facts – rather, it is to convey a political alignment. You heard this explicitly: Keller said, “Julian Assange may or may not be a journalist, but he’s not my kind of journalist.” My immediate reaction is, “Thank God I’m not Bill Keller’s type of journalist.”