Julian Assange canceled a dramatic London balcony address on Tuesday in favor of a video presentation in Berlin after WikiLeaks developed "specific information" regarding Assange's safety, the leaked emails clearinghouse tweeted on Monday afternoon.
Some believe the video announcement by the WikiLeaks founder could be an "October surprise" geared towards the U.S. presidential election. Supporters of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump have said they believe the announcement will be damaging to the candidacy of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Tomorrow's press conf in Berlin proceeds. London speech by Assange has been moved to Berlin due to specific information. #wikileaks10— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 3, 2016
Assange, 45, who has lived in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for five years as officials in Sweden have sought him on criminal charges, is set to address supporters in Berlin via a video link at 3 a.m. ET.
“I don’t want to give it away,” Assange told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly in August, when he indicated he had a major scoop that could influence the race. “But it’s a variety of documents, from different types of institutions that are associated with the election campaign, some quite unexpected angles, some quite interesting, some even entertaining.”
In a subsequent interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity last month, Assange said his next round of revelations was coming “reasonably soon.”
“The first batch is reasonably soon,” he told Hannity. “We are quite confident about it now.”
Assange has already played a key role in the presidential race, with the release of 20,000 internal emails that indicated the Democratic National Committee appeared to conspire to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination. Those revelations surfaced in August, just before the party’s convention, proving embarrassing to Clinton’s campaign. They also led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Though no recent public revelations directly tie to Assange's security fears, various U.S. officials and pundits have made threatening statements directed at him in the past. WikiLeaks on Monday tweeted an alleged quote from a 2010 State Department meeting at which then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked if Assange could be killed in a drone strike. That same year, former Democrat strategist Bob Beckel said on Fox News Channel that "a dead man can't leak stuff."
Assange also has hinted that deceased DNC staffer Seth Rich may have been a source for WikiLeaks. Rich, 27, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the back at a Washington, D.C., intersection in July. He died soon thereafter. Authorities believe Rich was the target of a botched robbery, but his death has inspired conspiracy theories.
WikiLeaks has published more than 10 million leaked emails, including sensitive information about prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a cache of diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world.