- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2018

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said Tuesday that he plans to speak with members of the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee about Cambridge Analytica, the embattled London-based data firm linked to President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“I have accepted a request by the select committee of the UK parliament @CommonsCMS to give evidence, via video link, about Cambridge Analytica, and other matters, later this month,” Mr. Assange said on Twitter.

The committee first approached Mr. Assange last month about discussing Cambridge Analytica and has expressed interest in hearing from him as soon as March 28, according to tweets sent by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization Mr. Assange co-founded in 2006.

“Mr. Assange has offered to appear before the DCMS Committee, but no formal invitation has been issued for him to attend,” the DCMS Committee said through its Twitter account.

A representative for the select committee told The Washington Times in an email that “nothing has been confirmed with Mr. Assange at this time.”

Founded in 2013 as an offshoot of the SCL Group, a privately-owned British-based research and communications firm, Cambridge Analytica has faced heightened scrutiny since it was reported last week the company allegedly exploited the personal information of millions of Facebook users without their permission in order to target them with personalized political advertisements.

Cambridge Analytica previously faced criticism after it was revealed in October that CEO Alexander Nix wrote an email to Mr. Assange in 2016 seeking his assistance in finding thousands of missing emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

It was not immediately clear what matters Mr. Assange may discuss if his meeting with British lawmakers materializes.

Federal election records indicate that President Trump’s campaign against Mrs. Clinton paid Cambridge Analytica at least $5.9 million between July and December 2016, The Daily Beast reported. U.S. authorities investigating the 2016 White House race have expressed an interest in any ties between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks given the latter’s role in releasing material damaging to the Clinton campaign during the election season.

Mr. Assange, an Australian, was granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012 and has resided ever since within its embassy in London. British authorities have said they would arrest Mr. Assange for breaching bail if and when he exits the embassy, and the WikiLeaks publisher has insisted he risks being extradited to the U.S. if apprehended and tried for his role in releasing classified diplomatic and military documents dating back to 2010, years before his website began leaking sensitive Democratic Party documents during the 2016 race.

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