- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 1, 2017

Julian Assange is considering filling in for conservative commentator Sean Hannity during a future episode of the latter’s widely listened radio show, the WikiLeaks publisher said Wednesday.

Mr. Hannity offered the radio gig to Mr. Assange during a public Twitter exchange on Wednesday, and the WikiLeaks chief told CNN afterwards that he hadn’t ruled it out.

“I’m looking into it,” Mr. Assange told CNN over Twitter. “My physical circumstances means that nothing is easy.”

“It is a good sign that Sean Hannity is willing to have someone best known for his work on freedom of expression and exposing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan host his mostly conservative audience,” Mr. Assange added, according to a copy of the exchange released through his personal Twitter account Thursday.

The WikiLeaks chief piqued Mr. Hannity’s interest earlier this week after tweeting about the possibility of hosting a program from his residence within Ecuador’s Embassy in London.

“Several U.S. networks suggest I start a weekly radio broadcast/podcast from within the embassy siege. A good idea? Ideas for format, title?” Mr. Assange tweeted Tuesday.

“If you would like to fill in for me one day I am on over 550 stations and 14 plus million listeners,” Mr. Hannity responded from his official Twitter account Wednesday.

When WikiLeaks first made headlines in 2010 for publishing thousands of leaked State Department cables, Mr. Hannity accused Mr. Assange of “waging war against the U.S.” and called for his arrest. He changed course last year, however, after WikiLeaks released documents detrimental to the campaign of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“In 10 yrs @wikileaks has gotten nothing wrong & no one’s been killed bc of the info released,” Mr. Hannity tweeted in October.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded in January that Russian state-sponsored hackers compromised computers used by Mrs. Clinton’s campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee ahead of last year’s White House race, then pilfered sensitive documents ultimately provided to WikiLeaks for publication prior to Election Day.

“I can’t comment on other people’s statements about our sources, except to say what we have said, which is that our sources are not a state party,” Mr. Assange told Mr. Hannity during an interview in January.

Mr. Assange, 45, was granted asylum by Ecuador in 2012, but has been unable to leave its London embassy in the years since without risking arrest at the hands of British authorities.

London police have been instructed to arrest Mr. Assange for allegedly violating the terms of his parole by seeking refuge there, and the WikiLeaks chief has said he fears any attempt to take him into custody will inevitably lead to being extradited stateside and indicted for disclosing U.S. government and military secrets.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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