WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared on Monday's "Larry King Live" to discuss his organization's massive leak of classified logs from the Iraq War. During the interview, King and Assange had a testy exchange about Assange's walking out of a CNN interview over the weekend, with Assange telling King he should be "ashamed" for bringing the incident up.
On Saturday, Assange walked out of an interview in London with CNN reporter Atika Shubert after she began asking him about his personal legal issues. Assange is being investigated in Sweden on charges of sexual abuse that were first dropped, and then reopened.
Assange took offense with Shubert's line of questioning, calling it "disgusting" and accusing Shubert of not wanting to discuss the issues raised by the documents released by WikiLeaks, and walked out.
On Monday, King did discuss those issues with Assange and with Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Assange began by talking about some of the details revealed by the documents, including tens of thousands of previously unreported civilian casualties and rampant abuse and torture of detainees.
Towards the end of the show, however, King brought up the earlier interview, playing the tape of Assange walking out. King appeared to be initially confused by the tape, asking if Assange had walked out of his own show as well.
"Well, I didn't walk off, Larry, just then," Assange replied. "But perhaps, I should...those documents cover 109,000 deaths. That's a serious matter and it's extraordinarily disrespectful to those people to start conflating the first revelation of that material with any sort of tabloid journalism."
King hit back, criticizing Assange for dismissing the questions into his personal life.
"She was asking about the deliverer of the information, a question about the deliverer of the information...what was wrong with that?" he asked.
"...It is not right to bring in sensational and, in fact, false claims, a relatively trivial matter compared to the deaths of 109,000 people," Assange said. "And it is -- I mean, CNN should be ashamed of doing that. And you, Larry, you actually should be ashamed, as well."
"All you had to do was to say they were false," King replied. "When you say they were trivial, rape is not trivial. To say they were false, that's your answer. They're false. That's fine. That's all we wanted to hear."