Julian Assange on 'This Week'

An exclusive interview with the international man of mystery and founder of WikiLeaks.
15:10 | 06/30/13

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Transcript for Julian Assange on 'This Week'
And now our interview with julian assange. He's standing by from his safe room at the equadorian embassy in london. First we have more on assange, and the assistance wiki leaks is providing to edward snowden. Reporter: Good morning. They were with snowden when he fled from hong kong to russia and provided him with guidance. They are pushing ecuador to grant him asylum, some say as the latest provocation of the u.S. He has long been a prickly thorn in the side of the u.S. Government. But who is julian assa hacker? Activist, journalist or fugitive criminal? We exposed the world's secrets. He's the mastermind behind wikileaks that's published nation's secrets, and behind the global debate over the public's right to know. The wikileaks organization published hundreds more internal documents. He's embarrassed the powerful, and revealed top secret information about u.S. And other government activities. But although what cost? Puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national authority. Reporter: Now the man who's on a crusade against wrong accusations of his own. You have no right to arrest him! He's been holed up in the equadorian embassy in london where he sought refuge to avoid charges. Today they are standing shoulder to shoulder with the most damaging leaker of them all, edward snowden, the former government conr who went public with top secret information about some of the crown jewels of the intelligence community. Some u.S. Officials say make no mistake, these leaks have serious consequences. The terrorists are changing the way they communicate because of these disclo and now to julian assange, from the equadorian embassy in london. And joined by a former whistle blower from the u.S. Government. He -- she showed how the government was working post-9/11. And welcome to you both. Mr. Assange, thank you for joining us. What can you tell us about where edward snowden is right now and where he's expected to go? Thank you, george. I wish I could answer these questions of yours in more detail. The situation now with edward snowden is sensitive. It's a matter of international diplomatic negotiations. Therttle I can productively say about what is happening directly. But look, let's pull back a bit. Why is it that mr. Snowden is not in the united states? He should feel that he should be afforded justice in the united states. But his situation is very similar to a situation that i face and that my staff face where we have been sucked into a grand jury in alexandria, virginia. That's where the charges came from. What do we know about that district? It's six kilometers away from washington, d.C. The jury pool is made up of cia, pentagon, et cetera. In the legal community in the united states it's known as the rocket docket because of the lock of scrutiny procedures have there. There's a 99% chance that -- a 99.97% chance that if you're a target of the grand jury you'll be indicted. And a 99% if you're indicted by a grand jury you'll be convicted. This is not a situation ignoring all the political rhetoric which has been terrible over the past two weeks, where mr. Snowden can feel he would be afforded justice in the united states. Is there any country that would grant him asylum? Under u.N. Conventions, mr. Snowas the right to apply to nearly every country for asylum. It's always a mixture of the political and the legal. And I think there are several countries where it is politically possible for mr. Snowden to receive asylum, and many countries, of course, where he's legally entitled to that kind of protection. It's -- no one is alleging that any of his acts are anything other than political. That he has acted in a manner to draw attention to a very serious problem in the united states where without the will of congress, without the will of the american population, we now have a state within a state, we have the transnational surveillance apparatus. Glenn spoke about the new technology to evolve out of the national security agency is going to attempt to intercept 1 billion mobile phone calls a day. No one signed up for this, obama doesn't have a mandate. No one has a mandate. They have been taken for a ride. You said this is far more than political. Secretary of state john kerry said that snowden's revelations are putting people at risk. Take a look. People may die as a consequence of what this man did. It is possible the united states will be attacked because terrorists may now know how to protect themselves in a way they didn't know before. Does that concern you at all? We have heard this rhetoric. I myself was subject to precisely this rhetoric two, three years ago. And it all proved to be false. We had this terrible discussion about -- which even exists in some of the tabloid press today -- about it causing harm, but not a single u.S. Government official, no one from the pentagon, any government said any of our revelations in the past six years caused anyone to come to physical harm. And the revelations by snowd these are even more abstract. Have you spoken to mr. Snowden -- right now? We have been publishing. Our legal people have been in contact with mr. Snowden. I can't say anything about the present situation. But, you know, the united states cancelled his passport. Joseph biden, the day before yesterday, pery called the president of ecuador trying to pressure him. That's not acceptable. Asylum is a right that we all have. It's an international right. The united states has been founded largely on accepting political refugees from other countries and has prospered by it. Mr. Snowden has that right. Ideally he should be able to return to the united states, unfortunately that's not the world that we live in and hopefully another country will give him the justice that he deserves. Edward snowden's father has spoken out, he fears that you and wikileaks are manipulating his son. He said wikileaks focus is not necessarily the constitution of the united states. That's a concern for me. How do you respond to his father? He didn't say that. He said might be. Mr. Snowden's father as a parent, of course he is worried in this situation. Every father would be worried in this situation. We are establishing contact with mr. Snowden's 's lawyer to put some of his concerns to rest. But, I mean, this isn't a situation that, you know -- that wikileaks is in charge of, if you like. This is a matter for states at a very serious level to understand and sort out and beh responsibly. Because I've had some experience in the past, publishing, with attacks and political rhetoric from the united states with asylum and so on, and I have personal sympathy for mr. Snowden. We did what we could and continue to do it. Put yourself in the middle -- and help him through. And I'm going to ask a further question on that. No matter what happens, the secrets he's taken will get out. How, and does wikileaks have possession of those secrets right now? Look, there is no stopping the publishing process at this stage. Great care has been taken to make sure that mr. Snowden can't be pressured by any state to stop the publication process. I mean, the united states by cancelling his passport has left him for the moment marooned in russia. Is that really a great outcome by the state department? Is that really what it wanted to do? I think that's every citizen has the right to their citizenship. To take someone's principal component of citizenship, their passport, away from them is a disgrace. Mr. Snowden hasn't been convicted of anything. There's no international warrant out for his arrest. To take a passport from a young man in a difficult situation is a disgrace. He is a hero. He has told the people of the world and the united sthat there is mass unlawful interception of their communications far beyond anything that happened under nixon. Obama can't just turn around like nixon did and say it's okay if the president does it, if the president authorizes it. That's what he's sayingso. He has also broken the law. Let me bring it back here. Julian assange mentioned his father.His attorney has written a letter to eric holder, the attorney general, saying that he believes that his son would be willing to come back to the united states if he would not be detained or imprisoned prior to trial, no gag order, tried in the venue of his choosing. Do you think it would make sense to return under those circumstances? I actually don't. I have represented people like thomas drake who was an nsa whistleblower who went through every conceivable internal channel possible including his boss, the inspector general of as I agency, the kolgs inspector general and u.S. Committees, and the u.S. Turned around and prosecuted him and do so for espionage. And to tie him up for the rest of his life in jail. I think snowden's outlook is bleak here. Instead of focusing on snowden and shooting the messenger, we should focus on the crimes of the nsa. Whatever laws snowden may or may not have broken, they e small compared to the two major surveillance laws and the fourth amendment of the constitution that the nsa violates. they were passed by congress and overseen by a court. Both are incorrect. Congress has not been fully informed. Only the -- they passed the law for the oversight -- but there's a secret interpretation of section 215 of the patriot act which nobody knows except for the intel committee of congress, and even they say thing most americans would be appalled by that. And to say it's approved by the court is is misnomer, it's the foreign intelligence court. They rubber stamped every single -- a federal court. No, a secret court that has federal justices on it. Last year it approved 2,000 out of 2,000 applications. They hear only the government's side. They have rejected an application one time since 1978. Back to julian assange. In 2010, an e-mail from you in time magazine said you hope the revelations would bring about quote, the total annihilation of the current u.S. Regime. Is that your goal and what did you mean by that? I didn't say that. There is no such e-mail. According to time magazine in december 2010. Yeah, well, I mean, time magazine. It's very interesting you raise such a thing like that. We are in a situation where we have these extraordinary revelations that are causing great embarrassment to a new national security state that is arising in the u.S. Not just the u.S., Similar in other countries. But it is trying to evade democratic will. It's treating congress like a bunch of fools. We saw clapper up there lying, bold-faced lying to congress. We have secret interpretations of the law. What does the law mean if there's secret interpretations and secret courts? Bradley mannings trial continuing tomorrow. A young man, a good man, as far as anyone can tell, motivations were entirely political as far as anyone argues, same with snowden. Being put through this meat grinder where a new precedent is trying sob set, communicating with the press is espionage. It's not just a precedent on the whistle blowers, it's on journalists and publishers as well. Mr. Assange, you have safe harbor by the equadorian government. They have been admonished for restricting press freedoms, prosecuting journalists. They said the media law is the most serious setback for freedom of the press in the recent history of latin america. Does it trouble you to be harbored by a government that doesn't support the press? Do you see a double standard there? These are blown up. There are problems in every country. Why have they been spoken about? What has happened is a mass revelation of illegal transnational spying by the national security agency, the collection of the communications records of every person in the united staing out the community structure of the united states. And these sort of attempts are merely a mechanism to try and shift ground. Go to cpj, communities protect journalists in new york, it lists a number of journalists in equadorian prisons, zero. It has been zero for a long time. 48 in turkey, so we've got to keep things in perspective with the allegation of ecuador is involved in mass transnational surveillance or assassination programs or so on.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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