… the CIA limited hangout operation known as Wikileaks …
More on WikiCIAleaks below.
– Wikileaks suffers a major leak (Inquirer, Aug 30 2011):
Unredacted cables with informant names are leaked online
WHISTLEBLOWING WEB SITE Wikileaks has suffered a major setback with a leak of fully unredacted US State Department cables including sources’ details surfacing online, thanks to a blunder by its founder, Julian Assange.
The leak occurred sometime after Assange shared the password of an encrypted ‘insurance’ file stored online with a contact believed to have been trustworthy. This individual then used the password to decrypt the collection of 250,000 US diplomatic cables, which include details that could identify US State Department sources, according to the German newspaper Der Spiegel.
Wikileaks had previously released many of the cables, but it redacted them to omit sensitive information including the names of informants. However, an encrypted file containing the cables with no censorship was stored online, which meant that all that was needed was the encryption key, which Assange willingly gave to trusted individuals.
Wikileaks was heavily criticised by the US government for potentially putting the lives of informants and agents at risk with the publication of the cables last year, but Assange was able to defend its leaks by showing that such potentially damaging information was being redacted from the leaks. Now that the decrypted cables are out in the wild, however, many informants lives could be in danger, a serious matter that will likely change how many view the whistleblowing web site.
It’s not clear who the person behind the leak is, but it’s likely that Assange might be aware. The problem is that this cock-up started long before the password was obtained or used, because the unredacted cables should not have been put online in the first place, even in encrypted form. Allegedly Assange accidentally uploaded them in a cache of old materials, but that’s a mistake that seems amateurish for someone with such technical competence and organisational responsibilities.
Wikileaks is now rushing to release the cables in redacted form before the unredacted versions get into too many hands, but now that they’re out in the wild there’s little Assange or Wikileaks can do to prevent them from being shared with all and sundry, with no concern for the safety of US sources cited in the cables.
The damage to Wikileaks’ reputation from this debacle will likely be huge, as it proves the US government right in its view that the leaks potentially endanger the lives of its informants, while also suggesting that Wikileaks might be rather more inept than previously believed.
According to Politico, a US State Department spokesperson said that it would not comment on the authenticity of the documents, but condemnded the illegal disclosure of classified information.
What about 9/11?
“I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud.”
What about the Bilderberg conference?
“That is vaguely conspiratorial, in a networking sense. We have published their meeting notes.”