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CNN Larry King Live
Interview With Lillian McEwen
Aired October 25, 2010 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Tonight, the former girlfriend of Clarence Thomas, 19 years after his confirmation hearings caused a scandal, she now claims he was obsessed with pornography. And that Anita Hill's sworn testimony about his alleged misconduct resonated with her.
ANITA HILL, CONGRESSIONAL WITNESS: He spoke about acts he had seen in pornographic films.
KING: Why speak out now? Nearly two decades after the denial.
CLARENCE THOMAS, THEN-SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I don't think this is right.
KING: Plus, cutting, burning, whipping and rape. Just released Wikileaks documents allege torture by U.S. allies. What does the U.S. government say? Julian Assange is here to tell us, next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
In 1991, Anita Hill leveled some explosive charges during the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas who ultimately became an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Those accusations resurfaced recently, when one of Thomas' former girlfriends spoke out about them. Lillian McEwen is that person. She is a former federal prosecutor, administrative judge, and council to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is her first and only network, prime-time interview.
Silent all these years, Lillian, you could have been a valuable edition to those hearings, why not?
LILLIAN MCEWEN, FMR. CLARENCE THOMAS GIRLFRIEND: I was not subpoenaed by either side.
KING: Did they know about you?
KING: Both sides?
KING: Well, obviously, Judge Thomas 's side wasn't going to subpoena you to appear, right? That would not have been in their best interests?
MCEWEN: I don't know.
KING: Joe Biden was head of the Senate Committee, right?
KING: What was the reason for not hearing your story?
MCEWEN: I don't know.
KING: Well, what happened, they just rejected it?
MCEWEN: What I asked Clarence about was, what position should I take in reference to any reporters who wanted to talk to me, or anything that he wanted to emphasize as far as my relationship with him was concerned. His response to me was the position his first wife had taken, Kathy, was fine with him, which said to me that his wishes were that I would say nothing to the press. So I acceded to his wishes as far as my -- making myself available to the press.
KING: But you did write to Senator Biden then, right?
MCEWEN: I did write a note to Senator Biden's staff saying that- reminding them that Clarence and I had a very close relationship, and reminding them also, that he used to come frequently to the office space. And was friendly with much of the staff there, on Biden's staff, in the Russell Senate Office Building, just in case they had forgotten.
KING: You were not going to accede to his wishes about saying nothing, if Biden had called you, you would have appeared?
MCEWEN: Of course, if I had been subpoenaed, I would have appeared. And if the Senator had asked me questions, I certainly would have answered them. But that didn't occur either.
KING: All right, let's get into what you said. You dated him?
KING: For a long period of time?
MCEWEN: Yes, for several years.
KING: Was it serious? Obviously, several years, it would be serious?
MCEWEN: Yes, we were close.
KING: Was marriage in the offing?
MCEWEN: Not for me.
KING: He wanted to get married?
KING: Possibly. Did he ever say, let's get married?
MCEWEN: He did ask me, if he and his son could move into my house. And, therefore, we would be living together. I said no to that.
KING: But you cared for him?
KING: Still care for him?
KING: What ended it?
MCEWEN: That's a very complicated answer. I guess the short answer would be that what ended it was that Clarence became not the person that I knew when I first met him. His change, his transformation ended it.
KING: From what to what?
MCEWEN: Well, he changed in that he first of all stopped drinking. He drank to excess when I first met him.
KING: That's usually a good thing?
MCEWEN: That should have been a good thing. But for some people who are binge drinkers and who have been overindulgent for many years- and who are alcoholics, which he might have been-for some people, when they quit immediately without counseling or anything else to help them, what happens to them is not pretty. For him, that process meant that he became very irritable, angry.
MCEWEN: Angry. Short tempered, asexual, and obsessed with weird things like running, 10, 15 miles in the morning, almost in the dark. And his ambitions -- I don't know, his ambition may have been connected to the alcoholism, or what he was going through when he stopped drinking. But I can't be sure about that. Anyway, his ambition just became overwhelming to the point where he was giving interviews at 2:00 and 3:00 o'clock in the morning, and ranting and raving about what was printed about him the next day, that sort of thing.
KING: What was his goal?
MCEWEN: His goal --
KING: His ambition was to be?
MCEWEN: His goal was to be on the Supreme Court.
KING: That was his goal?
KING: And you're a lawyer and were an associate justice. Did you think he had the qualifications for the court?
MCEWEN: That's a hard question, a complicated question to answer. Certainly being a raving alcoholic for many years doesn't disqualify you in the United States from holding a high office. But the instability and the lack of intellectual curiosity, the inability to sit down and read something, and concentrate on it for a significant length of time. That makes it very difficult to do the job.
KING: He didn't grow, in other words?
KING: Well, you have to have curiosity to grow.
MCEWEN: Yes, I would say he went backwards, during the time that I knew him and he became a bully to his child. So all of those things meant to me that it was time for me to go.
KING: In her testimony at the 1991 confirmation hearings, Anita Hill said that Clarence Thomas made workplace comments to her that included references to pornography. Here's some of what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: He spoke about acts that he had seen in pornographic films, involving such matters as women having sex with animals, and films showing group sex, or rape scenes. He talked about pornographic materials, depicting individuals with large penis' or large breasts involved in various sex acts. On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK, when you saw that, Lillian, what did you think?
MCEWEN: I thought she was telling the truth.
KING: Based on your own observations about him?
KING: Were you shocked that someone was saying this publicly?
KING: Did you know Anita Hill?
MCEWEN: Not well. But, yes, I knew her.
KING: And you weren't surprised that she was coming forward and saying this?
KING: Were you surprised that he was approved?
MCEWEN: Given the rules that the hearing allowed to apply to the testimony and to the witnesses, I was not surprised that he was approved.
KING: By the way, we reached out to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas for a statement about this interview and the topics we're addressing, and we were told he has no comment. We'll be right back.
KING: We're back with Lillian McEwen, the former girlfriend of Justice Thomas, former prosecutor and administrative judge. She served as council for Senate Judiciary Committee. Again, that committee decided not to hear her testimony when it was headed by the now Vice President Joe Biden.
You told "The Washington Post" that Justice Thomas was obsessed by porn, elaborate on that.
MCEWEN: I suppose I would call it a fetish or a hobby. It was on that kind of a level. It was something that was very important to him. Something that he talked about. But to me, it was boring, and I was uninterested in it. So I didn't --
KING: Why did you stay with him, then?
MCEWEN: I didn't pay much attention to him when he talked about porn.
KING: He just talked-did he bring home films?
MCEWEN: I wouldn't watch them.
KING: Did he watch them?
KING: And he would want to talk to you about them and you were -- it was kind of kinky, right?
MCEWEN: It was not unusual for a man his age to concentrate on pornography, especially if he had not been exposed to it when he was very young. So I really thought nothing of it.
KING: Did he fantasize?
KING: Did you enable him there? Did you participate in the fantasies?
KING: Because you cared for him?
MCEWEN: Yes, because we had a sexual relationship. That's part of it.
KING: And that part you liked?
MCEWEN: Yes, it's just the porn that was something I was indifferent to. I just didn't care. I didn't disapprove of it, I just didn't care.
KING: Did you think it weird?
MCEWEN: No, I didn't.
KING: Guy wants to be a Supreme Court judge is into this? You didn't think it weird?
MCEWEN: No, I assumed, frankly, that many Supreme Court justices watch porn and enjoy porn. I mean, it's very popular on the Internet, that's why most people use their computers, is to watch porn, especially men.
KING: During his testimony, Clarence Thomas categorically denied the allegations Anita Hill made against him. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: I cannot imagine anything that I said or did to Anita Hill that could have been mistaken for sexual harassment. But with that said, if there is anything that I have said that has been misconstrued by Anita Hill, or anyone else to be sexual harassment, then I can say that I am so very sorry, and I wish I had known. If I did know, I would have stopped immediately, and I would not, as I've done over the past two weeks, have to tear away at myself, trying to think of what I could possibly have done. But I have not said, or done the things that Anita Hill has alleged.
KING: OK, Lillian, what were your feelings when you watched that?
MCEWEN: When I heard that during the hearings, and when I hear it now, I hear a man who is parsing his words very carefully. I also hear a man who was not asked, in the hearings, whether he had ever had a sexual relationship or sexual contact with Anita Hill.
KING: Never asked that direct question?
MCEWEN: No, he never was. That was part of the rules. The ground rules for that particular hearing.
KING: So was he being untruthful?
MCEWEN: Possibly not, because he's parsing his words. You know, what's your definition of sexual harassment? What were the exact words that she said, that he said to her? He may not have said that exact sentence, or said those exact words in a sentence. Or he may not have said that -- on that particular day that she's describing.
KING: All right. Supposing he were interested -- and you say he was interested in pornography. Would that disqualify him?
MCEWEN: No, because I assume many people, men and women, who are sitting on the Supreme Court right now, have enjoyed, do enjoy, or may enjoy pornography later on.
KING: You loved him, cared for him, were with him for quite a while, were sexual with him. Would you have voted against him?
MCEWEN: Because I knew him.
KING: Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
MCEWEN: Because he was not stable.
KING: You mean, he would fly off or he would -- he didn't grow, he wouldn't be objective about cases?
MCEWEN: All of those things.
KING: Did you read his book?
MCEWEN: His memoir?
MCEWEN: Yes, I did.
KING: What did you think?
MCEWEN: I thought that was consistent with the Clarence who had been able to transform himself over the years into something totally different from what the reality is. I also thought that it was a book written by a man who's very angry. That he is still extremely angry. He also, for some reason, comes off in that book to me as a person who did not win, but rather lost --
KING: You mean, someone who did not get the nomination?
MCEWEN: Yes, who did not get the nomination, and who is not sitting on the Supreme Court bench. I think it's an astonishing piece of work.
KING: Once again, Justice Thomas, we reached out to him for a statement on tonight's interview and the topics we're addressing, we were told no comment. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: During his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991, Anita Hill testified that Thomas had pressed her to date him. Here's part of her opening statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: I stopped him by saying no and explaining my reasons. My employer would abandon social suggestions. However, to my regret, in the following few weeks he continued to ask me out on several occasions. He pressed me to justify my reasons for saying no to him. These incidents took place in his office, or mine. They were in the form of private conversations, which would not have been overheard by anyone else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What did you make of that?
MCEWEN: I believe that like Clarence she was also parsing her words very carefully.
KING: Why did she have to parse her words?
MCEWEN: I assumed at the time when I met Anita Hill and during the time that she was working at the EEOC, and during the time that she was at Education, working with Clarence there, that they had a sexual relationship. That had been my assumption for years.
KING: Based on?
MCEWEN: Based on the fact that Clarence asked me to come to the EEOC several times and to meet her and to stand around in the office so that she would see and accept the fact that there was another woman in his life.
KING: To make her jealous?
MCEWEN: No. I hated going to his office. First of all, I was extremely busy. And secondly, the atmosphere in his -- I had never been to his Education office, when he worked there. I had never been there. He never asked me to go there. The only reason I went to the EEOC is because he begged me to go there.
KING: For what reason?
MCEWEN: He wanted me to make my presence known to Anita Hill so she would accept the reality that she did not have the same relationship with him that she had had at Education.
KING: That made you think they were sleeping together?
KING: Did he lend you to think they were sleeping together?
MCEWEN: I never had that conversation with him. KING: But you thought they were?
KING: Other people thought they were too?
MCEWEN: Well, I never asked him if she was sleeping together. Frankly, I didn't care what they were doing with each other, then, in the past, or in the future. I just didn't care. But anyway, when I went to EEOC a few times, and I never really spoke to Anita Hill. She made sure to stay as far away from me physically as she could. And so that also made me think that what I had assumed was true.
KING: Have you spoken to Clarence Thomas since he got on the court?
MCEWEN: The last time I saw him and spoke to him was when he gave a speech at Howard University Law School after he had published his memoir.
KING: What did you talk about?
MCEWEN: I went up to him afterwards and gave him the copy of his memoir that I had and asked him to autograph it for me. And he was very gracious, and he did.
KING: And that's the last time you spoke to him?
KING: More with Lillian McEwen after this.
KING: We're back with Lillian McEwen. We have another excerpt from Clarence Thomas' confirmation testimony. It is a flat denial of Anita Hill's allegations and a comment about how the charges that she made affected him. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS: Since September 25th, I have suffered immensely as these very serious charges were leveled against me. I have been wracking my brains and eating my insides out trying to think of what I could have said or done to Anita Hill to lead her to allege that I was interested in her in more than a professional way. And that I talked with her about pornographic or X-rated films.
Contrary to some press reports. I categorically denied all of the allegations and denied that I ever attempted to date Anita Hill, when first interviewed by the FBI. I strongly reaffirm that denial.
KING: Was he lying?
MCEWEN: He was parsing his words very carefully.
KING: He said he didn't try to date her. He didn't try to do anything with her, he was denying what she was saying, wasn't he?
MCEWEN: I think he said at that time or something like that. Every time he makes a statement, he qualifies it, that to me, that doesn't mean he did not have a sexual relationship with her at some point in time, other than these events that she's stating. And it -- he's talking about what she said. It's very carefully worded.
KING: Sort of like what is, "is"?
MCEWEN: Yes, sort of like that.
KING: What do you make of his wife calling Anita Hill last week?
MCEWEN: When I first heard it, I was half asleep. And it was brought to my attention by Michael Fletcher, a reporter that I knew on "The Washington Post" who I had never allowed to interview me, and never given a statement to. And he tricked me into giving him my impression of what that meant. And it was a genuine response that I gave him half asleep. And it was that it doesn't surprise me at all.
KING: Why do you think she called her?
MCEWEN: She called Anita Hill because this is a subject that is a source of great angst for her husband. It's also most likely a subject that is mysterious to her, because so much of that particular complex subject makes no sense in the version that her husband would have given her over the years. She most likely thought that she was solving a problem for her husband. She most likely thought she was doing him a favor by making that call.
KING: You think, therefore, it's still discussed in that marriage?
MCEWEN: I think that Clarence has never told his wife the truth about the kind of activity that he engaged in at that point in time, when he was at EEOC and at Education. I don't think he's told her the truth about his preferences, sexually. I don't think he's told her the truth about the relationships that he had with women who worked at EEOC other than Anita Hill, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
KING: What is one of those preferences sexually?
MCEWEN: Well, it's kind of complicated, and I don't feel comfortable talking about that in this context.
KING: What do you think generally of his decisions on the court?
MCEWEN: His decisions to me can be very simply explained. And the explanation, I think, for the originalism, for the stark conservatism, for the disparate treatment of different kinds of groups is simply this: he is rewarding those people that he thinks are his friends. He is also punishing those people he thinks are his enemies.
KING: So it's personal?
MCEWEN: It is extremely personal.
KING: But he benefited from affirmative action?
MCEWEN: Yes, he did.
KING: And he's been against it?
KING: How do you explain that?
MCEWEN: Simple, punishing his enemies and rewarding his friends. His enemies are people who are active in civil rights, professors who have criticized him, and anybody who disagrees with the conservative friends he has, such as Rush Limbaugh.
KING: Why did you come out now?
MCEWEN: Come out now?
KING: Well --
MCEWEN: That's kind of a loaded question.
KING: You had a good friend at "the Washington Post" and you never spoke to him about it.
MCEWEN: That's true. First, he caught me by surprise with the question about the phone call. And secondly, at this point in my life, I'm a lot older. I've written what I want to write about my own life. And Clarence is just a part of that. I have no fear any more.
KING: Thank you, Lillian. Lillian McEwen, former girlfriend of Justice Clarence Thomas. Again, we reached out to Justice Thomas for a statement on tonight's interview. We were told no comment.
Once secret documents about the war in Iraq released for the world to see, that's next.
KING: Julian Assange, she's editor in chief of WikiLeaks. This weekend, the WikiLeaks website posted nearly 400,000 Iraqi war logs and secret battlefield reports. He's in London. We welcome him back to LARRY KING LIVE. IF we read through all these documents, what's the significant thing we learn that we didn't know before, Julian?
JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS EDITOR IN CHIEF: Well, there's an exact answer to that question, at least for part of the material. The Iraq body count is an organization that has been collecting the reports on people's deaths in the media in Iraq since 2003. We joined this extraordinarily collection of 400,000 reports with their database, and we found 15,000 civilian casualties that had never previously been reported.
There's a lot of other material that's not being reported either. But let us keep in mind that that's 15,000 just between 2004 and the end of 2009 mentioned in these records. It's equivalent to some six 9/11s.
The other material, it's an extraordinary range, but we can see the torture of detainees after Abu Ghraib by coalition forces, over 300 incidents, 284 reports. We can see thousands of cases of reports of detainee abuse by the Iraqi government, the new Iraqi government, covered up or not investigated, not intervened by the United States military.
KING: Who was hiding this?
ASSANGE: That's an interesting question. The Pentagon came out yesterday and said, well, there's nothing new in this material, which is precisely what they said with our Afghan release as well. Well, of course, there's nothing new to them in the material, but there's a lot new to the rest of the world. They were totally aware of this. The reports are internally designated as significant actions.
So this is what the U.S. Army internally thinks is significant enough to keep around and record. So one of the things we can see is that the deaths of civilians and the deaths of people listed as insurgents was counted since 2004, despite repeated statements over the years that the U.S. military did not have an ability to count or estimate the number of civilians killed.
The hiding of the material -- this covers every facet of the war. So we can see hundreds of incidences where what is said in public differs to what is said in private. But the material itself comes from the Pentagon's or the Army's rather central collection.
KING: We'll hear from a Pentagon spokesman right after this.
KING: Chris Lawrence interviewed Pentagon correspondent Jeff Morrell on Friday about Wikileaks plan to post the nearly 400,000 classified documents. He asked what the Pentagon's biggest fear was. Watch?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOF MORRELL, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: Our biggest fear is that it potentially puts our forces in even greater danger than they inherently are in these battlefields, that it will expose tactics, techniques and procedures, how they operate on the battlefield, how they respond under attack, the capabilities of our equipment. And then things such as how we cultivate sources, how we work with Iraqis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Julian, how do you respond to that? ASSANGE: Well, the pentagon has been pushing the propaganda lie that the war in Iraq is finished. If that's true, then the statement by Jeff Morrell, Pentagon spokesperson, has no meaning. But this material doesn't mention any soldiers' names, doesn't mention any names of Iraqi civilians. The only lives at risk here -- sorry, the only thing at risk here is the reputations of the politicians and bureaucrats that put these soldiers into harm's way, and who put Iraqis into harm's way to the degree that the material in total covers 285,000 casualties, civilian and otherwise, during this war, 60 percent of which are civilian, according to these reports.
KING: You said you believe that U.S. military documents released by WikiLeaks contain evidence of war crimes. CNN's John King asked that same spokesman, Jeff Morrell, on Friday about this, whether information was kept classified to keep such evidence from the public. Here's some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORRELL: We vetted every single one these documents, word by word, page by page. There is nothing in here which would indicate war crimes. If there were, we would have investigated it a long time ago.
What's in here is information that could further impair our forces. There are also 300 names of Iraqis in here that we think would be particularly endangered by their exposure. We have passed that information on to U.S. forces Iraq. They are in the process right now of contacting those Iraqis to try to safeguard them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Julian, what's your response?
ASSANGE: In statements over this issue, the Pentagon is about as credible as North Korea. There are no names in the documents that we have released. Now, there are names in the copies that the Pentagon has, so we see this simple rhetorical trick used.
As for war crimes, it is not us who is saying this. We are repeating the statements by U.K. lawyers, human rights lawyers that have looked at this material. There's an expected lawsuit covering 40 wrongful deaths. There's numerous cases of Iraqis in the act of surrender being shot and killed. A little girl in a yellow dress walking down the road being shot and killed by rifle fire from a tank. Many, many incidences.
There's additional crimes under the international -- U.S. torture statutes, and the Geneva -- aspects of the Geneva Conventions, which speak about the circumstances under which detainees can be handed over to a state that is expected to commit torture.
KING: The most famous man who ever released papers will join us next, Daniel Ellsberg. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: I'm joined now by Daniel Ellsberg, the former Pentagon analyst, who leaked a 1,000 page secret history of the Vietnam War back in 1971. You said you've been waiting 40 years for somebody to disclose information on a scale that might really make a difference. What does this WikiLeaks thing mean to you, Daniel?
DANIEL ELLSBERG, LEAKED "PENTAGON PAPERS": It's a different level of decision making. It's the field level. So it does reveal, in fact, war crimes in a way that the Pentagon Paper themselves did not. They revealed -- it was 7,000 pages, which was as much as I could reveal with the technology then of Xerox. I certainly couldn't handle 400,000 documents that they can now in the digital age.
What they did reveal was deception of the American public of the kind that lied us into the Iraq war from the beginning. Now, that kind of deception, that kind of decision making at the highest level, the White House, is not in these documents. These are not the Pentagon Papers. And for that, the Pentagon Papers were not the last word. They were not the CIA or the White House papers.
But these documents, do, in fact, at the field level, represent the human impact of this war that's been concealed by the Pentagon and by the administration, two administrations now, year after year, as they told us they didn't know and didn't count how many civilians were being killed, despite what the news people -- we now know that was a deception. They were counting and they did know and it was much higher than the news reporting has ever revealed. That's news now.
KING: What will --
ELLSBERG: The question of torture, if I may say, I was, frankly, as a former Pentagon official -- I was ashamed of Jeff Morrell for saying that he did not and his colleagues did not perceive any war crimes in these documents. That reveals a blindness to legal and moral implications, and to the practical implications of this -- for the safety of our troops there, the torture, which is well known to the Iraqis and to the victims, but not to the American people, and the persistence of which, in this administration, as well as the past one, it's not only illegal and the cover-up of it is illegal, but endangers remaining troops there. And it should stop.
The fact is that there's ample evidence there, not only that the law was broken in part by British and American soldiers -- and that is being investigated in Britain, they claimed today, to their credit, and not, apparently in the United States -- but the cover up of it, the denial of it is something that the government needs to explain.
It's not for WikiLeaks to explain why these truths are being revealed now that call for investigation. It's the government that needs to explain why it felt -- why it did, in fact, deny and cover up this practice all along.
KING: Daniel, do you think they will explain?
ASSANGE: You know, well, Jeff Morrell is not making a good start here, but, of course, he follows the line that is laid down by his bosses. Here's the difference from the Pentagon papers that's interesting to me. There really wasn't any news in the Pentagon papers to President Johnson or to his former officials, of which I was a mid-level subordinate one. They had written those papers. They knew what was in them.
In this case, the field-level reports, the question is raised very much: did Secretary of Defense Gates know, in fact, what these field-level reports were revealing about the fact that we were present? Americans were present while torture was being conducted by the people to whom we were delivering these subjects, former Saddam Hussein henchmen, who were carrying out the same thuggish torture that they had which justified our investigation. Did Gates know that? And did Obama -- does President Obama know that?
KING: Hold it, Dan.
KING: Julian, shortly before the massive release of the Iraqi war documents, you walked out of an interview by CNN Atika Shubert. She asked you about any turmoil within WikiLeaks and about accusations of rape and molestation by two Swedish women. He's walking off again, apparently. Why will you not respond to that question? Daniel, are you still there?
KING: I guess you can't answer for him. That was the video from before. You're still there. I'm sorry, that threw me. Why did you walk off?
ASSANGE: I haven't walked off.
Well, I didn't walk off, Larry, just then. But perhaps, I should. We released 400,000 classified documents, the most extraordinary history of a war to have ever been released in our civilization. Those documents cover 109,000 deaths. That's a serious matter and it's extraordinarily disrespectful to those people to start inflating the first revelation of that material with any sort of tabloid journalism. And CNN should know better, and I believe does knows better than to do that.
KING: You don't think that was fair?
ASSANGE: It certainly --
KING: She was asking about the deliverer of the information, a question about the deliverer of the information. You don't think that's fair to ask about the person who then repeats the information? Or as we said, the Pentagon spokesman was doing just what his bosses told him to do. How do we know that? We don't know that. We assume that. So we're asking the question just about you to further confirm your reliability. What was wrong with that? ASSANGE: Well, I mean, it should be obvious that these things are not in balance and they are not proportionate. It is not right to bring in sensational and, in fact, false claims, a relatively trivial matter compared to the deaths of 109,000 people. And it is -- I mean, CNN should be ashamed of doing that. And you, Larry, you actually should be ashamed, as well.
KING: All you had to do was to say they were false. When you say they were trivial, rape is not trivial. To say they were false, that's your answer. They're false. That's fine. That's all we wanted to hear. You denying what they said. Daniel, some similar things happened to you, didn't it?
ELLSBERG: The so-called plumbers, of course, were looking for information on me with which to blackmail me into silence. And I'm sure that that kind of operation is going on now to try to, quote, neutralize, to use the Pentagon or the White House word, for the bearer of the messages.
You know, deputy prime minister here in England, where I'm speaking to you from with Assange, I think did England credit the other day by saying, "however we bemoan how these messages came to us" -- and by the way, I don't bemoan that. I think that whoever was the source of these did a patriotic move for which I thank him and admire him. But, in any case, Nick Clegg said they demand investigation. I haven't heard that from any American official. If President Obama --
KING: We're going to do more on this. Sorry, we ran out of time. Julian the question was asked because I think it deserved to be asked, and it deserves to be responded to, which you did saying they are false. And certainly there's a bigger story.
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