GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday he expects people to lose their lives over this week's massive leak of diplomatic documents but doesn't believe the founder of the website that is posting the files has succeeded in evading U.S. authorities.
"I'll be very surprised if some people don't lose their lives," Clinton said in a speech in North Carolina. "And goodness knows how many will lose their careers."
Clinton's wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has argued that the website WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the sensitive files. Bill Clinton said after the event that it's clear that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is trying to evade the reach of American law because he knows what he did was criminal.
"That doesn't mean that he did succeed in evading the reach of American law," Clinton said.
Interpol has put Assange on its most-wanted list after Sweden issued an arrest warrant against him as part of a drawn-out rape probe involving allegations Assange has denied.
Clinton's wide-ranging speech was part of a lecture series hosted by Guilford College in Greensboro. He pushed Democratic leaders to quickly clarify the financial landscape that businesses will be facing in the future so that companies currently sitting on piles of cash will be willing to spend.
"We just need to get in and clean that up," Clinton said. "I'd figure out what it would take for them to start lending again. If it wasn't illegal or immoral, I'd do it."
He didn't delve into specifics but said at one point in the speech that the health care law pushed by President Barack Obama should be changed but not repealed. He later said that some companies appear concerned about the recently passed Wall Street reform bill and by health care costs — two issues that were at the center of the Democratic Congress over the last two years.
"We haven't done what is necessary to clear up their uncertainties," Clinton said. "That's something that the Democratic administration needs to do."
Clinton is the first U.S. president to take part in Guilford College's Bryan Series. Other former heads of state who have participated in the talks include Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union in 2004 and Mary Robinson of Ireland in 2006.
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