WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Friday that the US justice system was suffering from a “calamitous collapse in the rule of law”, as Washington reeled from the sensational exposure of vast spy agency surveillance programmes.
Speaking in an interview with AFP at Ecuador’s London embassy, where he has been holed up for almost a year, the founder of the whistleblowing website accused the US government of trying to “launder” its activities with regard to the far-reaching electronic spying effort revealed on Thursday.
“The US administration has the phone records of everyone in the United States and is receiving them daily from carriers to the National Security Agency under secret agreements. That’s what’s come out,” said the 41-year-old Australian.
Two damning newspaper exposes have laid bare the extent to which President Barack Obama’s intelligence apparatus is scooping up enormous amounts of personal data — on telephone calls, emails, website visits — on millions of Americans and foreigners.
Obama has defended the programmes, saying they are legal, necessary to combat terror, and balance security with privacy.