The fake Sean Hannity Twitter account had only been up for a few hours, but apparently that’s all it took to fool Julian Assange into sliding into the account’s DMs, offering information on Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate committee investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election.
The drama began when the real Fox New host’s Twitter was briefly taken down Friday night. Soon after, Dell Gilliam, a technical writer from Texas, created an account with the handle @SeanHannity__, quickly earning 24,000 followers — and the attention of the founder of WikiLeaks, the secret document-dump service that the CIA director has called a “hostile intelligence service.”
“I’d like to set up a time for us to talk,” @SeanHannity___ messaged Assange on Saturday.
Assange, according to The Daily Beast, which obtained screenshots of the alleged conversation, seemed open to the idea.
“You can send me messages on other channels. Have some news about Warner.”
The message appeared to be a reference to Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat in the Senate’s Russia investigation.
“Give me a break,” Warner’s office told The Daily Beast. “WikiLeaks is a non-state hostile intelligence service with longstanding ties to the Russian government and Russian intelligence.”
WikiLeaks did not respond to a request for comment.
The “news” Assange was offering remains unknown, though Warner made his own news shortly after the Twitter exchange, telling Politico on Monday that Senate investigators had “extraordinarily important new documents” that raised new questions about Trump colluding with the Russians during the election.
Hannity aired his thoughts about the conversation, which he seemed to confirm occurred, on Twitter.
Fox News did not respond to a request for comment.
This isn’t the first time WikiLeaks has been tied to the Russian intrigue. The U.S. intelligence community believes the Russian government chose WikiLeaks to distribute hacked information during the election, according to a report from the Director of National Intelligence issued in January, 2017. The WikiLeaks Twitter also engaged in a sustained, and mostly one-sided, conversation with with Donald Trump Jr. well past election day, records of which have since been turned over to Congressional investigators.