'This Week' Transcript: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange

Wikileaks' Julian Assange is interviewed on 'This Week.'

ByABC News
October 11, 2013, 6:17 PM
PHOTO: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 14, 2013.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 14, 2013.
Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2013 — -- A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday morning, October 13, 2013 on ABC News is below.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning. Welcome to This Week.

Courting disaster.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) OHIO: I don't want to put anything on the table. I don't want to take anything off the table.


STEPHANOPOULOS: With the default deadline just four days away (inaudible) Washington stuck and the American economy your money hangs in the balance. It's up to the Senate to strike a dramatic last minute deal. Will House Republicans rally or revolt? And if we go over the cliff, what happens next.

This morning, all the breaking details about the high stakes negotiations from congress to the White House.

Then, NSA leaker Edward Snowden resurfaces and Hollywood takes on Julian Assange.


JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: This is information the world needs to know.


STEPHANOPOULOS: The WikiLeaks founder responds live from his London hideout.

All that plus the powerhouse roundtable. And that Nobel Prize stunner right here this morning.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos starts now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: All of you are telling us Washington's never been worse and all of the evidence coming in this week is proving that point. Government now shut down for almost least two weeks. In just four days, America faces the risk of default. That's never happened before.

And right now, hopes for a deal to avert that catastrophe rest on two Senate leaders who haven't always been on speaking terms.

We're going to examine all the angles and consequences of this showdown this morning starting with ABC's chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.

And John, the president's talks with House Speaker John Boehner collapsed Friday and bipartisan talks in the Senate collapsed yesterday. And now the Senate leader negotiation is the only game in town.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, George. It is the only game in town. And it is a game that is not going well.

The two men are trying to craft an agreement that would keep the government open and postpone default until January 31. And Republicans have given up all the demands -- or at least Mitch McConnell and the Republican leader in the Senate have given up all of the demands that led to this crisis. Major changes to Obamacare are not even on the table right now.

But the talks broke down yesterday, over Democratic demands from Harry Reid to increase spending. Reid wants to end most of those spending cuts that were put in place under the sequester as part of this deal. And George, keep in mind, that as these two men hold the key to whether or not this is solved or not, that these two have seen their relations deteriorate so much, they have barely been on speaking terms.

STEPHANOPOULOS: At the same time, Senator McConnell is sending out a lot of signals that he wants a deal.

KARL: There's no question, going into these talks yesterday, McConnell was already preparing for what he knew to be a backlash from the Tea Party Republicans have given up in this. He gave an interview with the local newspaper in Lexington, Kentucky, saying that he wants a come-together moment with Democrats saying as much as I would rather have a Republican president and would rather be the majority leader of the Senate, I am willing to work with the government we have -- not the one we wish we had.

So McConnell is ready to crave in on most things, George, but I don't think he is ready to give in on spending cuts.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And no talks scheduled yet for today.

OK, Jon Karl, thanks very much.

That's where things stand in Washington

Let's get more on the economic fallout from our chief business and economic correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. Rebecca, Wall Street jumped several hundred points Thursday and Friday when they thought a deal was coming. Any sense of how these latest developments are going to go down?

REBECCA JARVIS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: There's a lot more downside risk this morning, George, than there is upside potential. And really what was saw last week is market cheering on the news that House Republicans had put something on the table as far as the debt limit was concerned. Even though it was short term the markets like that. Now, when you look at the upside ahead of the October 17 deadline, you have about 1 percent potential for upside. 1 percent upside potential in the markets if it looks like a deal is getting done.

But the downside potential is much more dramatic.

Ahead of the October 17 deadline, we could see the markets drop 2 percent, even 3 percent, if it looks like a deal isn't getting done. But again, George, this isn't just a matter of what happens ahead of October 17, October 17 is D-Day.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And after that all bets are off?

JARVIS: After that, all bets are off. Every bank on Wall Street has been gaming this out. There's a war room set up. They're thinking about their exposure to this. And we could see a very disorderly decline in the markets then. We're talking 500, even 600 points of downside as far as the Dow is concerned.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Back to the days of 2007, 2008. Rebecca Jarvis, thanks very much.

Now from the Congress, three very distinct perspectives. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who has been in the middle of talks to develop a bipartisan solution, Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison co-chair of the House progressive caucus. And Republican congressman Raul Labrador, a leader among House conservatives.

And Senator Graham, let me begin with you. You were working on a deal with Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, it seemed to collapse yesterday, shot down by the Democratic leader Harry Reid. Right now, is there any deal that could get through both houses of congress and signed by the president?

GRAHAM: I don't see one. If you break the spending caps you're not get any Republicans in the Senate.

And here's what I'm worried about a deal coming out of the Senate, that a majority of Republicans can't vote for in the House, that really does compromise Speaker Boehner's leadership. And after all this mess is over, do we really want to compromise John Boehner as leader of the House? I don't think so.

So I'm not going to vote for any plan that I don't think can get a majority of Republicans in the House, understanding that defunding Obamacare and delaying for a year is not a realistic possibility now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's a pretty high bar, Senator Graham.

Let me bring that up to Congressman Labrador. Here, you've been insisting that there has to be changes in the Affordable Care Act in order to pass any kind of a CR or any kind of a debt limit extension. But the Democrats have been absolutely clear that's not going to happen. You don't have a majority for that.

LABRADOR: You know, it seems strange. And we're four days away from breaching the debt ceiling. We gave the president a pretty good offer. The offer was we would extend the debt ceiling without any requirement for six weeks. That's so we can continue negotiations on the debt and then we can continue also negotiation on the continuing resolution, the actual budgeting and the actual spending bill that we need to do.

And I don't see why the president is not accepting that and not working with us. I think it's been very difficult to work with him. He wouldn't come to the table to negotiate. Now that he's coming to the table, he rejected two offers. I thought that the House offer was a pretty reasonable one. And I'm surprised that he also rejected the Senate offer.

ELLISON: Well, I mean, it's very simple. We can negotiate and talk all we want to after we reopen the government. As a matter of fact, we can open the government and can have any kind of discussions they want over anything they want. But we got to reopen the government and we've got to pay America debts.

Let's not forget, George, this whole thing started when Republicans said we want to defund, delay and repeal the Affordable Care Act which gives millions of Americans insurance reform and access to health care, including about 200,000 in Idaho.

And now they're saying that unless we stop all that, then they're not going to open the government and that's not realistic.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring that to Senator Graham. You just recognize -- you say that that is unrealistic, Senator Graham, to expect any changes now...

ELLISON: The senator is right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...in Obamacare. So how can you convince those House Republicans like Congressman Labrador right here, that there is going to have to have to be some kind of an agreement that doesn't include that and basically gives Democrats, you know, it might be the hard politics right now, most of what they want?

GRAHAM: Well, at the end of the day, I really do believe that the Democrats have moved the goalpost twice in the Senate. They -- there is a political -- we're in a free-fall as Republicans, but Democrats are not far behind. And after listening to all of us talk now probably understand why 60 percent Americans want to vote all incumbents out.

To my colleagues in the House, on both sides and to my friends in the Senate, we're ruining both institutions.

So, it is unrealistic to expect us to defund or delay Obamacare by shutting the government down.

But the fight on Obamacare is far from over. After this mess is behind us Obamacare will be a liability for Democrats and the government shutdown we can survive if we're smart.

Paul Ryan is working on a plan that could start in the House, that I think would be involving very good government proposals to avert future shutdowns, to do some things for Obamacare that needs to be done in terms of correcting the problem. And quite frankly putting every member of congress in the same plan on the same terms as all Americans.

I would hope that would come from the House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me bring that to Congressman Ellison, that particular plan. Because Congressman Ryan has talked about perhaps relieving some of the pain of the sequester in return for entitlement reforms. Can Democrats accept that?

ELLISON: Well, it's all about, you know, the details. Let's see, because we cannot say -- I cannot support saying that we're going to diminish and lower, say, Social Security in exchange for, I don't know, anything. These folks who exist on that are already on meager amounts of income, and so we're not going to inflict more pain on them.

But, look, it's all in the mix. Let's reopen the government. Let's pay America's debts. And I'm open to discuss anything any Republican wants to talk about, but it will be us giving and taking and them giving and taking, not a situation like we have now, which is we will stop inflicting pain on America if you get rid of health care which brings insurance reform and access to millions of Americans. We can't do that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Labrador, if a deal passes the Senate that does open up the government again, extends the debt limit for several months, but it's not the kind of deal that a majority of Republicans that you could even support, will there be retaliation against Speaker Boehner from House conservatives if he schedules that vote?

LABRADOR: I don't think so. First of all, whatever passes the House of Representatives is going to have the majority of House.

But listen to what Keith just said. He wants us to open the government, reopen the government. He says that he wants us to go ahead and vote on the debt ceiling. But he's unwilling to talk about what he's willing to negotiate on. He's unwilling to tell you what things he's going to be working on. Remember...

ELLISON: Because it's your job, Raul.

LABRADOR: No. Remember when the president said he was for chained CPI. Every Democrat in Congress said that he was...

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's on Social Security...

LABRADOR: ...on Social Security. Every single senator says that they wouldn't do it, every Democratic senator.

This is the problem that we have. Any time we talk about entitlement reforms, the Democrats say that they will only do it if we raise taxes. Every time we talk about the real spending problem -- and this is all an issue of fairness -- if you look at Obamacare the president and his administration have given exemptions to their friends, to businesses, and all we're asking is to give the same exemption to the American people. I don't think that's...

ELLISON: We can talk about all these things after we reopen the government and pay America's debts.

There are things we can do to improve, not defund, delay and repeal, but improve the Affordable Care Act.

And there are things that I would propose that we do to improve even so-called entitlement reform -- actually these are earned benefits. What if we negotiated drug prices as opposed to just locked in and let the pharmaceutical industry charge what they want? That's something I could do.

There are a number of things that we could do, but we cannot do it under the gun as we are now.


LABRADOR: We just offered you a six-week extension of the debt limit.

ELLISON: Six weeks is no good.


ELLISON: -- (Inaudible) six weeks? You want to do this again in six weeks?

LABRADOR: So what you want is -- you want to get everything you want and then you say that you (inaudible).

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to take one final question to Senator Graham.

You know, this is the --

GRAHAM: It looks like we're almost there.

STEPHANOPOULOS: (Inaudible) Democrats and Republicans right there, but (inaudible) --

GRAHAM: I can feel it coming together.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- fair amount of tension between Senate Republicans and House Republicans. I was struck by this tweet put out by the congressional correspondent for the "National Review," Robert Costa.

He said, "The political dynamic now between House Rs and Senate Rs is tense. Senate Rs feel like Cantor asking them to "stand strong" is a middle finger."

Has it gotten that bad?

GRAHAM: Well, the truth is, we started down the road with unrealistic expectations. The government has shut down; ObamaCare is still up but not running very well.

What breaks my heart is for the last 12 days, you have had a complete meltdown of the portal called ObamaCare; the whole system is just not working. And we're overshadowing how badly ObamaCare has been rolled out.

But as between the House and the Senate, we really do share a common goal of trying to replace and repeal ObamaCare over time. We never had the leverage through the shutdown to repeal or replace. That was unrealistic.

Our Democratic friends keep moving the goalpost in the Senate, thinking they're winning. But my belief is that Paul Ryan should lead this effort with John Boehner to pass something out of the House that doesn't delay or defund, but would be good government. That's the best thing for the Republican Party and for the country.

But as between House and Senate Republicans, the sooner this is over, the better for us, guys.

And to our Democratic friends, you own ObamaCare and it's going to be the political gift that keeps on giving.

So the shutdown will be old news next year; ObamaCare's faults will be front and center in 2014 if we don't screw this up.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That will have to be the last word this morning.

Gentlemen, thank you all --

ELLISON: Thank you, George.

Thanks, Raul.

LABRADOR: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Those interviews just moments ago.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to the roundtable: Peggy Noonan from "The Wall Street Journal;" David Plouffe, former senior adviser to President Obama, now at Bloomberg Television; Dan Senor, former Bush administration official, cofounder of the Foreign Policy Initiative; and Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist from "The New York Times" and Princeton.

Welcome to all of you.

And, Peggy, let me begin you, Senator Graham didn't sugar-coat it all, said they're ruining both institutions. Yet, there doesn't seem to be a way out.

PEGGY NOONAN, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Yes, it is fascinating that nobody seems to know where this thing goes and how it ends. I mean, it is a crisis; normally people have a sense of it.

I think Lindsey Graham was very correct when he said we will all be better off and the Republicans will be better off when this particular shutdown ends. I think, look, people don't like these things. They like it when government works. Both parties suffer when stuff like this happens. But the essential point that nobody knows where this goes is the great mystery of this battle.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're getting so close, Paul Krugman. And Republicans do seem to be trying to negotiate, led by Mitch McConnell, terms of surrender. But Democrats not willing to give at least at this point even much of a fig leaf.

PAUL KRUGMAN, ECONOMIST: Yes. First of all, I think it's actually kind of important that we don't know that it's exactly October 17th. So if we wake up Thursday morning and they haven't defaulted yet, that was a false alarm.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the (inaudible) could also hit before October 17th.

KRUGMAN: Yes, probably not, I think.

But it probably runs -- it may well run a few more days. So but the point is, it's very close. We're very close to the edge.

The Democrats, the thing that you get, always from them, is their basic principle is we do not give anything under threat of extortion. Nothing -- and of course the Republicans want a fig leaf and that fig leaf has to involve, we got something for our extortion.

And that is much more than the details of the budget are its stumbling block. It is that whatever happens, the Democrats say, we -- you lift the extortion threat and we negotiate. But as long as the debt ceiling is still in play, as long as the government shutdown is still a condition for other stuff, it's not a deal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Dan Senor, you heard a lot of talk about Paul Ryan. You have been a close adviser to Paul Ryan, the congressman, former vice presidential candidate. And his experience this week, I think, points at the dilemma that everyone's facing.

He comes forward with a plan that is really unacceptable to Democrats, completely unacceptable to Democrats, yet he gets hammered by his own side.

DAN SENOR, CO-FOUNDER OF THE FOREIGN POLICY INITIATIVE: Right. He gets hammered in the blogosphere, a little bit on talk radio. But actually House conservatives in the House Republican conference have been behind him, because of what he's essentially saying, is he's calling the president's bluff.

He says, look, we need to get through this period, Mr. President. We need to extend the debt ceiling, get through this period. Let's agree on reforms that you have been for, Medigap reform, means testing Medicare beneficiaries, increasing contributions of federal employees.

These are all proposals that were in the president's fiscal year 2014 budget. You say you want these things; you say you want to do real reforms that can save hundreds of billions of dollars. It's not as massive a savings as Paul would have preferring (inaudible) packages he's introduced in the past. But he's telling the House Republicans, let's call the president's bluff and try to get something done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: David Plouffe, of course you worked closely with President Obama for many years. He seems convinced at this point that actually the consequences of negotiating are even more severe than the consequences of actual default, does he really mean that?

DAVID PLOUFFE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, obviously, he takes the threat of default enormously seriously. But I think after what we went through in 2011, we got this close to default, and he doesn't want to do this again. No president should have to do this again. We have got to break this pattern.

I do think ultimately there's probably a deal here, but we've got to take the threat of default off the table and reopen the government. Can we do some things on long-term entitlement reforms and things to help the economy (inaudible) tax reform? I think we can. The question is right now, I do think there's a possibility of something coming out of the Senate that would get 70-75 votes, but if Boehner insists on doing this with most of his caucus, I'm not sure the Tea Party is capable of reopening government or not defaulting right now.


PLOUFFE: I'm deeply concerned about this. I think the notion that somehow this is going to be easily solved this week is completely false.

NOONAN: My son said, I have been writing this; it's just what I think: Republicans made a mistake. They picked a fight. They had no strategy, they had no endgame, they had no plan. That's what it is, it was a mistake.

That having been said, I think the president has made countermistakes, not only in the famous stories of the things that were forcibly shut down in the shutdown, and all that stuff, but his -- the sense he has communicated that, hey, I'm not having a conversation, we're not having negotiations.

Presidents have to negotiate on debt limits. They have to own it. We have all seen; we've worked in White Houses. We have seen presidents do this. You can call what the other side does to you extortion. What it really is, is an argument and a deal and at the end, you trade some horses and do your best.

KRUGMAN: Nothing like this has ever happened before. All of the alleged former examples here, I actually looked at them. They turn out to be either -- there was a budget deal that included a debt ceiling raise. But the debt ceiling wasn't a hostage, or once -- once -- Tip O'Neill held up the debt ceiling for one day, more as symbolism.

There was never before a case where one party pushed the U.S. government to the edge of default, demanding concessions in return.

So to every attempt to make this sound like business as usual, it's not. This is something completely out of the previous experience.

NOONAN: Paul, it is more heightened but it is still part of business as usual, because it takes place within the context of an American president having to deal with the reality around him. And the opposite party, having to deal with the fact that he has the presidency, he has the executive, make a deal.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And there's a political reality here as well, pretty striking, Paul, coming out of your paper this week, "The Wall Street Journal," NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, I want to go through some of the numbers right here, shows the Republican Party taking the brunt of the blame for (inaudible), 53 percent blame the Republicans.

The view of the Republican Party, 24 percent positive right now. According to the pollsters of "The Wall Street Journal" the lowest they've ever recorded, 24 percent positive. Only 14 percent of the country thinks we're going in the right direction right now and as Lindsey Graham cited early, 60 percent of the country would replace every single member of Congress.

So Dan Senor, as Lindsey Graham said, everyone's falling but Republicans taking a far greater hit, don't they have to figure out a way to end this dynamic?

SENOR: Absolutely. There's no doubt that this damaging to the Republican brand.

That said, a year from now, this will have been long resolved and I don't think voters will be talking about this shutdown and the dysfunction. What people will be talking about is the failed implementation of ObamaCare.

There are very few House seats that are really in play. There's like a tiny percentage of Republican House members that are in districts that President Obama won. There are six Senate seats, Democratic Senate seats that need to be defended that Mitt Romney won by more than 10 percent.

So, the field, both in the House and the Senate, is much more favorable to Republicans. I think this is a bad moment for Republicans. I think it will pass. I think the feel, the history of the party out of the White House winning midterms, combined with the failed implementation of ObamaCare --


KRUGMAN: I want to say something about that for a moment. The ObamaCare thing will also be long past. They messed up the software for the federal version of it. But we have the exchanges working just fine in many states, which means it's fixable and it will be fixed.

California has a perfectly well functioning exchange, which is running itself. If you can do it for 30 million people, you can do it for 300 million.

So, Obama -- that will be -- Obamacare will be working fine...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me pick up another thread of what you just pointed out, because when I look at these deals being negotiated right now, a four-month extension of the government funding resolution, a six-month extension of the debt limit. David Plouffe, I look at that and say this is not going to be over from a year from now.

If you extend the debt limit six months predicated on long-term budget negotiations, aren't we going to be back in exactly the same place six months from now?

PLOUFFE: The nightmare just keeps recurring.

And let's look what the House proposal? It's essentially it was changes in Medicare to extend the debt ceiling for six weeks so we can completely destroy the economy around the holiday season. It makes no sense.

And we got to remember, we're already at Republican budget levels. We are already operating at Republican budget levels. And this was not a budget discussion, Peggy, this was -- they wanted to inject health care into the debate. We've never seen that before.

But I think these numbers are damaging in the long term for Republicans. I think you have to understand, they're already facing near fatal democratic problems right now and you add this into the mix here, you've got suburban women, a lot of middle class voters outside of the south, are really souring on the Republican Party.

And so I think for their politics this has to get over. But listen, America needs a functioning (inaudible) -- but a functioning Republican Party again. And I think you're seeing in the Senate with Republican governors that sense of frustration really growing. And hopefully those more common sense people who want to govern not destroy the government will have their voices raised.

NOONAN: The governors are key, I've got to tell you. Everywhere you go among Republicans, they start talking about what's happening in Washington in the Senate, the House and then they go, our governors are great. And indeed there's much excitement there. And I think the future of the party, 2016 is there.

Paul, I've got to tell you, I don't think I disagree with your point on Obamacare, of course. I think for the next year as Dan said, it's going to be a big superating wound. There's too much connected to it that is going to be a constant grinding tension. One is this congressional thing where congress passes things, but they get special benefits and the American people don't get them. You think it...

KRUGMAN: That's really not true.

But the main point is, software -- I mean, a software glitch.

SENOR: It's more than software.

They have stitched together web platforms for the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Homeland Security in order to make this enrollment work. It's a technology disaster.

The architect of the website said that if March, that we'll be lucky if this thing doesn't look like a third world experience.

KRUGMAN: Right, so they messed up. The thing is, again...


KRUGMAN: California, a state with more than 30 million people, a state with 10 percent of the whole U.S. population, has a perfectly functioning exchange, that says this is doable. That says that they will fix it.

SENOR: To David's point on the Republican brand, the changing demographics, again, I think the House will stay in Republican hands. I think it's a toss-up in terms of where the Senate winds up in 2014.

If you look at 2016, you look at the kinds of people thinking about running, Chris Christie, is going to have a double-digit win in his reelection in New Jersey next month. I think you would agree with that. Susan Martinez, 60 percent approval rating, governor of New Mexico. (inaudible) rating in Ohio. Scott Walker -- I mean the idea that Republicans actually working on things are somehow damaged by all of this chaos in Washington, I think...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, we're almost out of time. We've -- take a minute left. I just want to quickly around the table, is there a deal before Thursday's deadline? Do the consequences of default start to kick in?

PLOUFFE: I think it's no better than 50/50. And so I think the country needs to prepare that this could go on for a while.

NOONAN: I think the House is nervous, the Senate is nervous, and the White House is nervous, nobody knows how this end or exactly when, but there will be great pressure to clean this up especially if damning polls continue to come out.

KRUGMAN: I think it's no better than 50/50. And the positive 50 comes entirely from the likelihood that the markets are going to say something really very loud when they open tomorrow.

SENOR: I think that they will get through it. Republicans should get through this and move as quickly as possible to a debate on Obamacare to prove what Paul's prediction is actually not correct.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we'll see if House Speaker John Boehner survives that kind of a vote. Thank you all very much. Great discussion.

Next, Hollywood takes on Julian Assange in a new movie. And the founder of WikiLeaks fires back live from his London hideout in an ABC News exclusive.

And later, that Nobel prize surprise. Terry Moran talks to the chemical weapons inspectors who won. And our experts examine why they were chosen and what's next for the young girl who came so close, Malala.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And up next, the actor who portrays Julian Assange explains why he defied the WikiLeaks founder and took the lead in the new movie The Fifth Estate. And Assange joins us live to weigh in on the film, Edward Snowden and what's next for WikiLeaks.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're human beings, Julian. And their lives are at stakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the lives of soldiers and the civilians involved in these conflicts?

I'm reporting civilian casualties, countless incidents of friendly fire, this is information the world needs to know.


STEPHANOPOULOS: A scene from "The Fifth Estate," a new movie tracking the complicated and compelling story of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange, who is standing by to join us live has taken some shots at the film. And he tried to persuade the actor who portrays him, Benedict Cumberbatch, to refuse the role.

ABC's Lindsey Davis sat down with the actor to talk about that challenge and why he choice to accept the part.


LINSEY DAVIS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Until now, British actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been most commonly recognized for his role in the BBC's critically acclaimed series, "Sherlock" and most recently as Captain Kirk's nemesis in "Star Trek: Into Darkness."

CUMBERBATCH: Why did you allow me to live?


DAVIS: Quite a departure from his starring role in the new film, "The Fifth Estate," as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the man who's been called the world's most notorious transparency activist.

JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: I think to criticize the messenger to distract from the power of the message.

DAVIS (voice-over): Playing Assange is complex enough, further complicated by the fact that the famed whistleblower was opposed to the movie.

CUMBERBATCH: The difficulty, I guess, was to try and portray him as a three-dimensional human being, not vilify him or glorify him.

DAVIS: So you reach out to him, trying to get a fix on his character --

CUMBERBATCH: I did, yes.

DAVIS: -- and how does Assange respond?

CUMBERBATCH: Well, he slammed the door pretty politely but pretty firmly.

DAVIS (voice-over): The door he describes was an eloquently crafted email written by Assange to Cumberbatch in which he says, "I believe you're a good person, but I do not believe that this film is a good film. It is going to smother the truthful version of events at a time when the truth is most in demand.

"By meeting with you, I would validate this wretched film and endorse the talented but debauched performance that the script will force you to give."

CUMBERBATCH: I wrote one back with equal force arguing why I thought the story and his character and this particular moment in time was needed. WikiLeaks achieved great, great things all the way up to the 2010 big smash with the (inaudible) and cables. I think the film celebrates that. I think it's far more diverse even in its dual point perspective than he feared it would be.

DAVIS: How do you play a man, though, who refuses to meet you?

CUMBERBATCH: It's hard. You do have to make leaps of faith. You do have to join dots. And that's where the fictitious element of a dramatization comes about.

DAVIS: You have said before that we're all citizens of democracy, but how aware are you of the Snowdens and the issues that surround this debate?

CUMBERBATCH: Very, I mean, we are living in a time when in order to fight terrorism, we are eroding civil liberties at a rate that's a little alarming, really alarming, in fact. And yet at the same time, we need to save people's live. I mean, it's very difficult to be completely clear-cut. I think it needs debate.

DAVIS (voice-over): The debate is precisely what he believes "The Fifth Estate" will provoke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is information that the world needs to know.

DAVIS (voice-over): For THIS WEEK, Linsey Davis, ABC News, New York.


STEPHANOPOULOS: "The Fifth Estate" is being distributed by Touchstone Pictures, a division of ABC's parent company, Disney.

And with that, let's continue to debate. We turn live to Julian Assange, who joins us from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Thank you for joining us again, Mr. Assange. And you heard Benedict Cumberbatch there, he says that he tried to neither glorify nor vilify you. And the film celebrates many of what he calls the great things that WikiLeaks has done.

Do you accept that?

ASSANGE: Well, Mr. Cumberbatch wrote me a charming, very polite letter and with genuine concerns about the nature of the script being used in that film. He's reported to have said to "Vogue" and to "The Guardian" that he had fights with the director; he wanted to present me as a, quote, "cartoon bad guy" -- that's Mr. Cumberbatch's words.

I don't want to put words into his -- additional words into his mouth. But of course, he is under a contract and he's limited to what he can say in the film. I do know that he tried to ameliorate some of the worst elements of the script. But with limited success.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your biggest complaint?

ASSANGE: At least he tried.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your biggest complaint of the film?

ASSANGE: Well, I don't know where to begin, I mean, we released the whole script well before this happened. There was no approach to us by DreamWorks, in any formal capacity whatsoever, other than an informal approach by Benedict Cumberbatch just days before shooting began.

This is a film that is based upon my life's work, the work of my organization; we have people in extremely serious situations. Sarah Harrison, who accompanied Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, now effectively in exile in Russia because of the terrorism investigation here.

We have (inaudible) an alleged media source, the 25 organizations including ours up for sentencing in under a month's time, an ongoing grand jury investigation.

But what are the responsibilities for ethical filmmaking in that context? None of the suggested changes that we sent to participant media ended up even in the final text of the film. But there's been a big cashing-in that has gone on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You mentioned -- you mentioned Sarah Harrison --

ASSANGE: A rich organization that is -- yes?

STEPHANOPOULOS: You mentioned Sarah Harrison. As you said --

ASSANGE: This is a rich organization, DreamWorks. Its making a lot of money and tries -- is continuing to make a lot of money from this process. But none of -- there's no contribution to our defense fund, to the defense fund of our sources and so on.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me move on to Sarah Harrison, as you said, she's with Edward Snowden. We saw Edward Snowden this week receive an award from four American whistleblowers who traveled over to meet with him. And it was something that was facilitated by WikiLeaks; of course Sarah Harrison, a prime member of WikiLeaks as well. She's been with Snowden throughout his time in Russia.

What can you tell about how Edward Snowden is doing right now?

What's next for him and for Sarah Harrison?

ASSANGE: Well, Edward Snowden is safe. We, through a lot of work, and particularly by Sarah Harrison, managed to gain him asylum in Russia after our attempts to gain him asylum in South America were thwarted by (inaudible) bizarre manner by the State Department, by denying -- by canceling his passport while he was in Moscow.

So, he's safe. He's working to educate people. The journalists involved in these disclosures as to what is going on, he very rightly received that award from a former NSA, CIA, FBI, and DOJ whistleblowers, an award for integrity.

It's a serious matter. It's a threat to U.S. democracy and to democracy more broadly in the West to have a surveillance apparatus on every single person that would have been the dream of East Germany.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet at the same time, those revelations from Edward Snowden came under strong attack this week from the head of Britain's domestic (inaudible) Andrew Parker, who called the leaks a gift to the terrorists. NSA chief Keith Alexander said this week that people will die because of the leaks.

Your response?

ASSANGE: Well, we have seen this for 50 years, every time the press embarrasses the security establishment, shows they have been acting unlawfully, against what they have said to Congress or to the media, they trout out this old canard, that some speculative harm sometime in the future might happen, when we're discussing harm that is happening right now, as a result of these abusive programs.

The budget procedure you mentioned just recently, an interesting side effect of that, the National Security Agency has used the debate in Congress to cancel even its own internal investigation, but the people in the review panel are (inaudible). It's quite interesting to see how they in Clapper or Obama, yes, we need to have a debate. We need to have an investigation. Everything must be under Democratic control.

But at the first instance they can, as soon as there is a distraction, they try and subvert their promises to the public.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what is next for you, Mr. Assange?

Any chance you're going to leave that embassy any time soon?

ASSANGE: Well, I would leave this embassy -- it's a bit of prison in some way, but I have good people here, but where would I go to? I would end up in the outside world where you are. But what is happening to the outside world? That's a much bigger consideration, it's a big (ph) consideration for me and my staff and the 12 different legal actions we have going in different countries.

But it's a consideration for everyone what type of place is Western democracy going to be? Is it going to be a place with a collapsing rule of law, with mass surveillance of entire populations?

All the practical elements of a totalitarian regime. We don't yet have a totalitarian regime but have all the -- getting pretty close in the practical elements.

Is that going to cross over into something else? That would be a hard place for an investigative organization like WikiLeaks to work in. It is a hard place for Glenn Greenwald. He's now in effective exile in Brazil. Laura Pointress (ph), in effective exile in Germany. Sarah Harrison, U.K. citizen, in effective exile in Russia. Edward Snowden, asylum in Russia. Me, asylum here.

The West is becoming a place where the best and the brightest who keep the government -- hold the government to account in (inaudible) -- in asylum or in exile in other countries. We have seen that before with dictatorships in Latin America, with the Soviet Union. And it's time it stops.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's clear your fight is going to continue. Mr. Assange, thanks very much.

Up next -- a Nobel Prize surprise. Why did chemical weapons inspectors win the peace prize?

And what's next for the inspiring runner-up, Malala?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And coming up, his pulpit is unique. He is fed up with his flock. The Senate chaplain who says enough is enough and he's our "Sunday Spotlight."



MALALA YOUSAFZAI, EDUCATION ADVOCATE: They would like to speak against me, it's their right. But the thing is, I only want support for my cause of education. It's the right of every girl and every boy.

DIANE SAWYER, ABC ANCHOR: The kind of education you were getting, they argue, is a Western education.

YOUSAFZAI: If I want to go to school, and I want to become a doctor, so there would be an Eastern doctor or a Western doctor? Is there a difference in the studies? If I wanted to become an engineer, is there a different way to become an engineer, Eastern engineer or a Western engineer? This is education. This is knowledge. It can neither be Eastern nor Western.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And so with the young woman so many expected to win the Nobel Peace Prize this, Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who survived bullets for insisting that all girls deserve an education.

It went instead to chemical weapons inspectors for the tough work they do around the world. And we brought in some extras to talk about that choice and what's next for Malala.

But first let's go to ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran in Syria, where the winners are doing their most (AUDIO GAP).

Good morning, terry.

TERRY MORAN, ABC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: George, there are 28 Nobel Prize-winning chemical weapons inspectors are on the ground here in Damascus right now. And the task they face is staggering.

They're supposed to identify, locate, remove, and destroy Syria's entire chemical weapons arsenal, more than thousands of munitions, precursor chemicals, mixing equipment, the lot. Do it in a few months in the middle of a raging civil war.

We met with the team the night they won the prize. They are, as you would imagine, a close-knit bunch, not without a sense of humor. The "Chemical Brothers" they call themselves. But they are under no illusions about the difficulty of this task, or the fact that they themselves are personally targets.

Many of the rebel and jihadist groups in this country do not want them here. They wanted the American military strike that President Obama promised. They thought that might help change the balance of power in this war and lead them to victory.

But for many ordinary Syrians, the work of the chemical weapons inspectors is the work of peace. And they hope that it might offer the chance of a beginning of the end of their long national agony -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Terry.

And for more on the Nobel Peace Prize announcement, we're joined by David Miliband, who served as Britain's foreign secretary, now runs the International Rescue Committee here in New York; along with Shiza Shahid, who founded and runs the Malala Fund.

Thank you both of you for joining us. And, David, let me begin with you. There has been some criticism of this choice. Do you think it's justified?

DAVID MILIBAND, PRESIDENT & CEO, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: I think the chemical weapons inspectors do amazing work. But the truth is, they probably wouldn't have gotten this prize if President Assad hadn't used chemical weapons. So it's a bit of an irony that you've got this body that has done 15 years of important work. It takes the abuse of chemical weapons to put it in the headlines.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So even though the Nobel Prize -- the committee denies that this is in some ways sort of to reinforce their work...

MILIBAND: I think there's an aspiration in the announcement. But there's also a danger. Let's be honest, 1,400 people were killed with chemical weapons, 150,000 people have been killed in all, 7 million people displaced from their homes.

And people like me running an organization like the International Rescue Committee, we're concerned that people don't think that somehow because the chemical weapons seems to being addressed that the Syrian conflict, the regional conflict has done...


STEPHANOPOULOS: The refugee crisis is still exploding.

MILIBAND: I mean, 7 million people. Just think of a country like Jordan, a big ally of the United States, 600,000 refugees. That's like the (AUDIO GAP) in the United States. It's a massive hit to these societies.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Shiza, how did Malala take the announcement?

SHIZA SHAHID, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, MALALA FUND: You know, she said to me jokingly yesterday, if I ignore the Nobel Committee's decision, I already feel like I've won, because people all over the world have been sending in love and prayers.

So she wasn't expecting it, she had said, I have a lot of work to do. And that's what she's focusing on and she has wished the OPCW luck in their tremendous task.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And I wonder, as you talk about the work that Malala wants to do, if not getting the Nobel Peace Prize was somehow a blessing in disguise, does it help her in some way in her home country?

SHAHID: I mean, she's 16. I think it's a heavy burden to carry. She carries many burdens already. And she does them very, very well. But I think she has many, many years ahead of her to win the prize. In Pakistan, people were hopeful and expecting it, but I think it really brought the nation together around a cause and it served its purpose with the nomination.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And she has said that at some point, she wouldn't -- she could seek -- she could see herself seeking elective office. But what is the focus right now for Malala and the foundation?

SHAHID: For Malala, it's school and getting back to having some sort of a normal life while also continuing her campaign. So at the foundation, we're trying to build the right team around her to take her campaign forward with her vision, which is really getting girls into school and helping them be be powerful agents of change.

STEPHANOPOULOS: This is something that you all worked on when you were British foreign secretary?

MILIBAND: Yes, I think there's a revolution going on around the world and it's not the political revolutions that get the headlines, it's the education revolution that's helping to change lives. And this spirit that is so evident in Malala Yousafzai's work, extraordinarily inspiring work, I think is one of great hopes for progress.

Of course, if you just go back to that Syrian crisis, 300,000 kids in Lebanon, boys and girls, Syrian refugees with no education. And they need NGOs, they need government to really mobilize, because that's a -- if we're not careful -- a forgotten and dangerous generation. And their potential as a generation is magnificent. But the danger is obviously huge. And right across the Arab world massive...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you see hope in Pakistan now?

SHAHID: We do. We do. We see -- you know, Malala's shooting really galvanized people to get up and say, I denounce terrorism, I name the groups that have done this attack, which was not being done in the past, and thousands of girls got up and said "I am Malala." And that was revolutionary.

So we see hope and we see progress.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some people will be back in a decade and see Malala as a Nobel Prize winner?

MILIBAND: I hope so.

The Pakistani government (inaudible) spent six or seven times as much on the military as on Education. Now organizations like the IRC, the International Rescue Committee, organizations like the Pakistani government, NGOs, they're mobilizing for education in Pakistan, because it's the future of that country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Big change. Thank you both very much.

And next, senators get a surprise scolding from their chaplain.


BARRY BLACK, SENATE CHAPLAIN: It's time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough.


STEPHANOPOULOS: He tells us why in our "Sunday Spotlight."



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tell you, I want to smack them across the face with a bag full of quarters. And that's change I can believe in.


STEPHANOPOULOS: That is "Saturday Night Live's" take on the man in this week's "Sunday Spotlight," Senate Chaplain Barry Black.

After watching the shutdown mess consume the Senate chamber, he unleashed a surprisingly sharp scolding to the legislators (inaudible). ABC's John Donovan spoke with him about that message and his ministry.


BLACK: Look with favor upon President Barack Obama.

JOHN DONOVAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You have seen him before, lots of times.

BLACK: We praise you, the giver of bountiful gifts.

DONOVAN: The prayer guy, big ceremonies, he's there, anonymously mostly, because you didn't know his name before this, did you?

BLACK: Let us pray.

DONOVAN: until a few days back when the content of his prayers turned to the government shutdown.

BLACK: Save us from the madness.

DONOVAN: So that suddenly the prayer guy is making news.

BLACK: I think we've had some slow news days, John.

DONOVAN: Oh, that's way too modest, because Barry Black, that's his name, is a former Navy rear admiral, a Ph.D. Psychologist and ordained Seventh Day Adventist minister and the U.S. Senate's 62nd official chaplain since 1789, who gets the Senate floor a minute a day to talk out loud to god, otherwise known as prayer.

But lately...

BLACK: Forgive them for the blunders they have committed.

DONOVAN: Chaplain Black has been informing god of some flaws he sees in our lawmakers.

BLACK: They can comprehend their duty, but not perform it.

DONOVAN: Like ending the shutdown for the nation's sake and for god's sake...

BLACK: Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable.

DONOVAN: So you want them to hear this conversation you're having with god?

BLACK: Well, the fact that they overhear it is just one of the of fortuitous advantages of what I do.

DONOVAN: In fact, Chaplain Black has a real relationship with many Senate members. A couple dozen attend a weekly prayer breakfast with him. They also do bible study together.

BLACK: Eternal Lord God...

One Senator came to me and said, chaplain, I hope our lawmakers are listening because I have been following your prayers very, very closely, for the last four or five days and they're really making a difference in my reflections.

DONOVAN: Indeed, of the several senators we asked, all said they're good with his recent focus.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: He has the respect of everybody, Democrats and Republicans

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON, (R) GEORGIA: I think we're lucky to have Barry Black.

SEN. TOM CARPER, (D) DELAWARE: When I grow up I want to be just like Barry Black.

DONOVAN: And yet the shutdown continues, during which the man who prays himself is not getting paid.

BLACK: Amen.

DONOVAN: You're still showing up?

BLACK: I am being remunerated from above. And that's pretty special.

DONOVAN: Right, but that's not going to buy the lunch.

BLACK: You would be amazed at what it can do for the loaves and the fish.


DONOVAN: Ah, then that tells us what we're praying for here: it is called a miracle.

For "This Week," John Donovan, ABC News, Washington.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And the Chaplain has faith thanks to John Donovan for that.

And now, we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week, the Pentagon released the names of six service members killed in Afghanistan.

And that is all for us today. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

Check out "World News" with David Muir tonight. And I'll see you tomorrow on GMA.


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