Democrat Representative Adam Schiff of California said it is okay to publish stolen materials. He even appears to be encouraging it.
Speaking to his audience at the Brookings Institution on Tuesday, Schiff said publishing stolen material was an idea they tried to present to the media during the 2016 presidential election. But he said they were not successful in convincing the media about it.
Schiff said they had discussions about it with media editorial boards during the campaign. He supposedly told editors and other media officers that he never said it was not okay to publish stolen materials. Schiff said he was not successful in presenting such an idea to the media then.
The Representative did not name in particular the media organizations he spoke with during the campaign. He also did not say what issues were they talking about at the time that may have something to do with an important stolen material that "was okay to publish".
Schiff is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
He said that publishing stolen material is okay if the material has high public interest. He said it can't be helped if such stolen material will then be published.
He added that while it is okay to publish stolen material, media should not forget to provide context to the story and to the material in question.
It was not clear whether Schiff's views on stolen materials have something to do with the investigations on alleged Russian influence in the election and supposed links with the Trump campaign team.
Social media users who read the Washington Free Beacon's article about Schiff were quick to comment and point out Schiff's hypocrisy on the issue.
One said it is strange that Schiff did not feel the same way about WikiLeaks then when it was the Democratic party that was suffering from the bad press. "What a hypocrite", the netizen wrote.
Another social media user asked: " Weren't you the same group refusing to address materials WikiLeaks provided regarding Podesta, etc.?
One netizen also commented: "Dems have no respect for the law if the law is against their political agenda." Yet another hit Schiff," this guy just reeks of desperation! He knows their investigations are going nowhere.”