WikiLeaks posts 'Podesta emails,' Clinton Wall Street speeches

The site posts what seem to be emails from the account of Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta, including what look like parts of controversial paid talks.

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange participates via video link at a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of the secrecy-spilling group in Berlin this week. The site published more documents Friday.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange participates via video link at a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of the secrecy-spilling group in Berlin this week. The site published more documents Friday.

Maurizio Gambarini/Getty Images

Julian Assange has kept his promise.

During a press conference earlier this week, the WikiLeaks founder said the controversial website would be publishing more leaked documents relevant to the US presidential election. And on Friday evening it did.

The site posted what appeared to be emails from a private account belonging to John Podesta, a top advisor to Hillary Clinton. The emails, which have not been confirmed as authentic, contain what seem to be excerpts from paid speeches Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms.

The speeches have been an issue in the campaign, with critics saying they point to a too-cozy relationship between Clinton and financial bigwigs. Onetime Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders had pushed during the primaries for the release of transcripts, and Clinton said during an April debate that she'd release them if Sanders and now-Republican nominee Donald Trump made their tax returns public.

The emails appear to flag problematic portions of the speeches as a heads-up for members of Clinton's campaign, CNET sister site CBS News reported. One excerpt touches on backroom dealings.

"I mean, politics is like sausage being made," the purported excerpt of Clinton's speech reads, according to the CBS report. "It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody's watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position."

Asked whether the documents published by WikiLeaks are genuine, the Clinton campaign said it was "not going to confirm the authenticity of stolen documents released by Julian Assange." Clinton and Assange have knocked heads in the past, with Clinton saying that a WikiLeaks post of confidential diplomatic cables had endangered lives and threatened responsible government, and Assange saying that Clinton is a war hawk and a threat to freedom of the press.

The WikiLeaks document-dump comes the same day that the White House said the Russian government was behind the hacking and disclosure of emails from the Democratic National Committee and others. The actions were part of a campaign by the Russians to interfere with the US election process, the White House said.

In July, WikiLeaks published leaked DNC emails that showed committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other staffers disparaging the Sanders campaign. Schultz later resigned.

The latest leak also comes as WikiLeaks touts its 10th anniversary. On Tuesday, Assange spoke to reporters in Berlin via a video hookup from the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where he's been living in asylum for the last four years because of fears he might be extradited to the United States.

The nonprofit site came to prominence by publishing classified US documents relating to the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, military operations in Afghanistan and surveillance of world leaders by the National Security Agency. Among the documents made public by WikiLeaks were millions of military and diplomatic files revealed by US soldier Chelsea Manning, currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for the leak.

Assange said during the press conference that every week for the next 10 weeks WikiLeaks would be publishing new information related to Google, military operations, arms trading and mass surveillance. He also promised that all documents related to the US presidential election would be published before the vote on November 8.

CNET's Richard Trenholm contributed to this report.

First published October 7, 6:53 p.m. PT.
Update, October 8 at 2:34 p.m.:
Adds comment from the Clinton campaign.