George Stephanopoulos Spins WikiLeaks Release of Documents as 'Important Information for the Public to Have'
Published: 11/29/2010 1:33 PM ET
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday offered a sympathetic take on the decision of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to release potentially damaging U.S. security documents. The ABC host wondered if it was "important information for the public to have."
Talking to Congressman Peter Hoekstra, Stephanopoulos read a quote to the Republican, repeating the words of Assange: "If citizens in a democracy want their governments to reflect their wishes, they should ask to see what's going on behind the scenes."
Stephanopoulos then emphasized, "He says he's performing a public service."
In contrast, CBS's Harry Smith also interviewed Hoekstra and appeared much more concerned about the impact on national security. The Early Show anchor referred to the massive leak as "stunning" and a "real potential time bomb." Smith followed up, "Is there anything in this...that is potentially catastrophic in terms of the damage it could do?"
Stephanopoulos, however, made the case for the WikiLeaks founder: "But [the documents] also show instances where governments are not cooperating with us. A release showing that for years we've been trying to get the Pakistanis to allow us to secure their nuclear material. And now we know they haven't done that. Isn't that important information for the public to have?"
Hoekstra aggressively disagreed with the argument being made by the GMA anchor, arguing, "These are functions that need to be done by government. They need to be done by Congress and the executive branch. You know, this guy really is putting into danger our foreign policy and perhaps the lives of certain Americans around the world."
A transcript of the November 29 segment, which aired at 7:06am EST, follows: