"Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. As a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just two weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington," Assange told Dutch TV.
The US police claimed the murder appeared to be an attempted robbery gone wrong, but Rich's family reportedly said that nothing had been stolen. Assange also ruled out a robbery scenario.
"No, there’s no finding… I’m suggesting that our sources take risks," he said, yet refusing to confirm directly that Rich was a WikiLeaks source. "We have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States. Our sources face serious risks. That’s why they come to us. So we can protect their anonymity."
In July, WikiLeaks published almost 20,000 pages of hacked emails that apparently showed how top DNC officials deliberately worked to obstruct Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders' campaign to favor Hillary Clinton's nomination bid.