Assange denies charges WikiLeaks has anti-US agenda

In '60 Minutes' interview, whistleblower insists he's done nothing wrong as US launches criminal investigation into document leaks.

Assange looking wistful 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Assange looking wistful 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied accusations that his whistleblowing website has an anti-US agenda and even compared his principles to those of America's founding fathers, in an interview on CBS news magazine '60 minutes,' which aired on Sunday.  
"We don't 'go after' a particular country," Assange stated. "We just stick to our promise of publishing material that is likely to have a significant impact...Our founding values are those of the US revolution. They are those of the people like Jefferson and Madison. And we have a number of Americans in our organization. If you're a whistleblower and you have material that is important, we will accept it, we will defend you and we will publish it. You can't turn away material simply because it comes from the United States."
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When interviewer Steve Kroft told Assange that many in the US viewed Army Private Bradley Manning as a "traitor" for his alleged role in delivering classified US documents to WikiLeaks, the Australian national staunchly denied the characterization, saying "that's clearly not true."
The US has launched a criminal investigation into how WikiLeaks obtained the documents. Assange has called that investigation harassment.
Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed details about the Twitter accounts of Assange and Manning, who is in custody. US Attorney General Eric Holder has vowed that anyone found to have violated US law in the leaks will be prosecuted.
In the '60 Minutes' interview Assange denied breaking any laws or encouraging anyone to leak the secret US military and diplomatic material.
Assange, 39, is wanted in Sweden to answer rape and molestation accusations stemming from encounters with two women during a trip to Sweden last summer.
He is currently in London, where he's battling extradition to Sweden over the allegations.
His supporters and lawyers have argued that if he's sent there, he may face extradition to the US, where he could be prosecuted and ultimately face the death penalty. It is not clear what charges US authorities could bring against Assange.
Assange referred to his organization as "free press activists," who give the people the information they need to make informed political decisions.
He refused to give specific information about any upcoming publications of documents but seemed to relish the unease among banks caused by speculation that WikiLeaks is planning a "megaleak" consisting of documents from a major US bank.
“I think it’s great to have all these banks squirming, thinking maybe it’s them,” Assange said.
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