"I mean, in China, if this would've happened the people would get a bullet through their head within 24 hours," Trump said.
"As far as I'm concerned it's spying, it's espionage," Trump added.
Donald Trump strongly condemned WikiLeaks in a 2010 interview, calling its actions “spying” and “espionage” and saying its members would be shot within 24 hours if they were in a country like China.
Those comments are a sharp contrast to Trump’s current position on WikiLeaks, which published leaked documents from prominemt Democratic officials during the election. During a rally in October of last year, Trump exclaimed “I love WikiLeaks.” Just this week, Trump cited the group’s founder, Julian Assange, who claimed in an interview that Russia was not involved in hacking during the U.S. election. CNN’s KFile reported on Wednesday that Trump called WikiLeaks “disgraceful” and said “there should be like death penalty or something” in another December 2010 interview.
During the interview with Fox Business Network’s “Follow the Money,” Trump, who was considering a run for president, brought up WikiLeaks on his own accord as an example of a decline of America’s prestige. At the time, WikiLeaks was publishing classified material leaks to them by Pfc. Chelsea Manning, who was then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning.
“You look at WikiLeaks, I mean, in China, if this would’ve happened the people would get a bullet through their head within 24 hours and here in this country we’re embarrassed, everybody’s embarrassed,” Trump said. “We’re calling the leaders of other countries horrible names – how do you go back and negotiate with people with that. That’s just not the way life works. As far as I’m concerned it’s spying, it’s espionage.”
“They should try that young – they call him private first class – I call him private last class. They should try that young private and they should frankly either put him in jail for the rest of his life or maybe get the death penalty,” continued Trump. “You know, in the old days if you were a spy and that’s what he is you’d get the death penalty.”
During a rally in October of this year Trump exclaimed “I love WikiLeaks.” The organization was at the time leaking emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and had previously released emails from the Democratic National Committee.
The president-elect has questioned the assessment from the U.S. intelligence community that the Russian government was behind the hacks, and cited Assange’s denial of Russian involvement on Twitter.
Trump took to Twitter today to combat claims that he agreed with Assange, writing, “The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange - wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people…to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against “Intelligence” when in fact I am a big fan!”