February 26, 2011 in Nation/World

Bush cancels visit, citing invite to Assange

Sheila V Kumar Associated Press
 

DENVER – George W. Bush said Friday he will not visit Denver this weekend as planned because WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was invited to attend one of the same events as the former president.

Bush planned to be at a Young Presidents Organization “Global Leadership Summit” today but backed out when he learned Assange was invited, Bush spokesman David Sherzer said.

It was unlikely that Assange would have attended the summit in person, but the Denver Post reported he appeared at the conference Friday by video link.

Assange has been in Britain fighting extradition to Sweden in a sex crimes inquiry, and his lawyers have raised fears that he could be arrested by U.S. authorities investigating whether Assange and WikiLeaks illegally distributed secret government documents.

WikiLeaks has released tens of thousands of U.S. military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and on U.S. diplomatic efforts worldwide, deeply angering U.S. officials.

Sherzer said Bush doesn’t want to be part of a forum that invited someone who has “willfully and repeatedly done great harm to the interests of the United States.”

Michele Foster, a spokeswoman for the Young Presidents Organization, didn’t respond to questions from the Associated Press about why Assange was invited.

© Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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