Updated at 9:56 a.m. on December 1.
If anyone in America thought that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had any sway over the future of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs took the time this morning to bring them back to reality.
Assange spoke to Time magazine on Tuesday, calling for Clinton to resign, a suggestion that Gibbs repeatedly called “ridiculous and absurd.”
“I don’t know why on earth we would even solicit the opinions of somebody that has been an accomplice in a great security breach that threatens the people that do good work on behalf of keeping this country safe,” Gibbs said this morning on NBC's Today show. “I don’t know why anybody listens to him.”
At times, Gibbs seemed frustrated that the media is paying so much attention to the words of Assange.
“We are stronger than one guy with one website,” Gibbs said on Fox and Friends. “We should never be afraid of one guy that plopped down $35 and bought a Web address.... We're not scared of one guy with one keyboard and a laptop.”
When WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of secret documents earlier this week, a number of these cables seemed to implicate Clinton for using diplomats as spies.
"She should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up,” Assange said via Skype from an undisclosed location. “Yes, she should resign over that."
Whether Clinton actually ordered anyone to spy is debatable at best. It’s quite possible that even though her name was on the cables, she never even saw the orders herself.
Gibbs explained on CNN this morning that a big challenge is figuring out how best to make U.S. intel easy to share while keeping it clandestine.
“We have to balance,” he said. “We understood after 9/11 we didn’t share enough, now we have to understand we have to balance both the need to share with the need to know.... We also have to make sure that, you know, somebody that doesn't need to have access to highly classified information and State Department cables doesn't have access to it, isn't allowed to put in a thumb drive or CD and copy hundreds of thousands or millions of documents.”
What effects the WikiLeaks dump will have on American foreign policy is still anyone's guess. Clinton, for her part, said Tuesday at a regional security summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, that she has not heard "any concerns expressed about whether any nation will not continue to work with and discuss matters of importance to us both going forward."
"I have certainly raised the issue of the leaks in order to assure our colleagues that it will not in any way interfere with American diplomacy or our commitment to continuing important work that is ongoing," she said.
Olga Belogolova contributed.