Supporters of WikiLeaks 'committing an act of patriotism,' Moore says

The world owes a debt to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for "turning a big spotlight" on the people who lied the US into a war, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore says.

In an interview on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Moore framed the WikiLeaks releases as a just consequence of the Iraq war, and argued that "it's not the leaks that are killing anyone, it's the secrets" that governments keep.

"What if we had a WikiLeaks in August, 1964, when we were told the North Vietnamese fired on a US ship, which in fact was a lie concocted at the Pentagon?" Moore asked, referring to the Gulf of Tonkin incident that launched the Vietnam War.

"We didn't find out about that until [Daniel] Ellsberg [leaked the] Pentagon papers. How many lives could have been saved?"

Referencing an argument made by FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, Moore argued that the 9/11 attacks could have been prevented had a WikiLeaks-type organization informed the public of the intelligence assessment President George W. Bush received a month before the attacks warning of an al-Qaeda plot involving aircraft.

Moore also suggested the Founding Fathers would have approved of WikiLeaks, because "they knew that power corrupted" and so would have supported "a very large light being shined on them."

"Anyone who supports WikiLeaks is committing an act of patriotism," Moore quipped.

The filmmaker returned repeatedly to his theme of WikiLeaks being a consequence of the Iraq war.

"Because the US behaved so badly in invading a country that was not a threat to us, this is the result," he said.

The following video was broadcast on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Dec. 14, 2010.