WikiLeaks is threatening CNN with a defamation lawsuit after a commentator called Julian Assange a “pedophile who lives in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”
Former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd used the term to describe Assange on CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday morning while discussing the WikiLeaks founder's interview with Fox News a night earlier.
"The plot" refers to allegations that Assange had molested an eight-year-old girl in the Bahamas, promoted by a company running a dating website that unsuccessfully approached Assange about a celebrity endorsement deal.
By Wednesday afternoon, CNN had removed clips of Mudd's comments from the show's Twitter account and tweeted a correction.
"An analyst on our air earlier today asserted that Julian Assange was a pedophile, and regrets saying it," the network wrote. "In fact, CNN has no evidence to support that assertion. We regret the error."
We've deleted a tweet that included a video clip from New Day earlier this morning. Here's our statement: pic.twitter.com/qJqTtzy69T— New Day (@NewDay) January 4, 2017
While the Bahaman police have acknowledged to media agencies that they received a tip about the alleged crime, they have not identified a potential victim, have never received a complaint and are not pursuing the matter.
T&C Network Solutions claims they withdrew their endorsement offer after their touted rape-screening tool pegged Assange as a pedophile.
Assange claims the deal fell through after WikiLeaks began to believe T&C was a front company to pay Assange with funding that could be traced to the Russian government — an attempt to embroil Assange in unwanted controversy.
An entity ToddAndClaire filed paperwork with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) — a corporate ethics initiative — saying there was an active investigation of Assange for rape allegations in the Bahamas. They have since been banned from using the UNGC.
- Updated at 1:55 p.m.