Wikileaks founder Julian Assange slithered into the DM’s of someone he thought was Sean Hannity on Twitter early Saturday morning, offering “news” he had on Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the Daily Beast reports.
On Friday night, Hannity’s Twitter account mysteriously went down after posting the cryptic message “Form Submission 1649 | #Hannity.” A writer from Texas, Dell Gilliam, noticed the resulting kerfuffle and created the fake account @SeanHannity__. She then messaged Julian Assange, as Hannity, for fun. “I’d like to set up a time to talk. When may be good for you?” she wrote.
“Back! Good to see.” Assange replied. “Most of today is good. Try other channels.”
After the two settled on a time to chat, Assange reiterated, “You can send me messages on other channels,” and said, “Have some news about Warner.”
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference into the 2016 election. Less than 48 hours later, Warner said the Senate Intelligence Committee had received “end of year document dumps” that “opened a lot of new questions” about the Trump campaign’s involvement with Russia.
Wikileaks served as a Trump ally during the presidential campaign and was responsible for one of its most pivotal developments: The release of thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that were stolen by Russian hackers. Trump’s son, Donald Jr., maintained regular contact with Wikileaks both before and after the election, asking about damaging material about Hillary Clinton. Trump called the organization out by name several times on the campaign trail, saying “I love Wikileaks.”
CIA director Mike Pompeo has branded Wikileaks “a hostile intelligence service” last April. In December, the Associated Press reported that Russian spies were targeting journalists throughout the world. Last week, Mother Jones contended that Russian trolls have weaponized Hannity — his website is among the 10 most-shared on Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations, according to the nonpartisan Alliance for Securing Democracy.
Gilliam, who wasn’t particularly familiar with Hannity, said she created the account as a “whim” and started mimicking his voice. Her first message on the account read, “To all the lib haters, know that I am back and here to stay. You can’t silence the truth and you have no idea what’s coming.” That was followed by: “To all my loyal supporters – follow me on my new account to stay updated. Twitter can try to knock us down but we will keep rising up! #SeanHannity.” It was retweeted by dozens of verified journalists and celebrities.
The real Sean Hannity’s account came back up on Sunday morning; Twitter said the account had been “briefly compromised.” Gilliam’s account, now attributed to “Sean Hannity (Rhetorical),” still has 23,500 followers. She says she may keep the account going or donate the followers to charity.