There’s more WikiLeaks news about the controversial publication of over 250,000 top-secret cables last week. WikiLeaks site founder Julian Assange blames the Guardian (a British daily newspaper) for its role in the flood of cables. According to Assange, the Guardian published an encryption key to uncensored files, which “forced” WikiLeaks to publish all of the secret U.S. diplomatic memos at once.
The Guardian’s Role
Assange claims that a Guardian journalist, David Leigh, disclosed the password in a book he had written. As a result, certain people in the know were able to gain access to the uncensored files while others were not. In a Communistic, Robin Hood ideology of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, Assange said there was an inherent unfairness to the availability of WikiLeaks news. He argued that the people mentioned in the cables whose lives were in danger did not have access to the information, but all the intelligence agencies did. Furthering his argument, he added, “So you have a race between the bad guys and the good guys and it was necessary for us to stand on the side of the good guys.”
Assange firmly believes that since the information was available to only a select group, it was his duty to make it available to everyone.
The Guardian’s Reaction
The Guardian and The New York Times harshly criticized WikiLeaks for putting the lives of the confidential sources at risk. Both the Guardian and David Leigh deny that they are responsible for the WikiLeaks news leak. They suggested that WikiLeaks posted the encrypted file to the Web “by accident and that Assange never bothered to change the password needed to unlock it.” So, in essence, anyone who read David Leigh’s book would have been able to access the top-secret WikiLeaks cables without any hacking or network security experience.
The Future of WikiLeaks
There is speculation that WikiLeaks’ news partners will no longer supply information and their relationship is damaged. Assange denies this conclusion and says that other than a severed relationship with the Guardian and The New York Times, the other 90+ relationships with media organizations is perfectly intact. Assange also denied that the information provided to WikiLeaks will dry up due to compromised identities. He boasts that the WikiLeaks site is receiving a “deluge” of information, but they won’t be publishing anything now as they “revamp” their system. This likely means increased security to prevent another DDoS attack like the one they received last week.
It’s either naive or downright dishonest for Julian Assange to say that the WikiLeaks news site will receive less information. They clearly compromised people’s identities, embarrassed sources and disrespected agreements with media organizations.