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New York - WikiLeaks: How The Leak Was Leaked

Published on: September 1, 2011 06:24 PM
By: AP
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New York - It was meant to be strictly-managed release, carefully censored to avoid putting innocents at risk and tailored for maximum media exposure. But by Thursday WikiLeaks’ release of some 250,000 US diplomatic cables had turned into a massive online document dump.

The full set of unredacted cables are now widely available online to anyone who wants them even though it does not appear that Wikileaks intended to release the documents in this way.

Instead, they became public through a complex series of events involving an encrypted archive and a password thought to be harmless.

According to an account by Guardian journalist David Leigh, Assange gave the unredacted cables to The Guardian in the summer of 2010 by temporarily placing an encrypted file on an obscure website. Leigh was given a password which unlocked this file.

A few months later, Wikileaks publicly posted a huge archive of previously released material to ensure continued access to it following Assange’s legal troubles and attacks on their website.

At that time only a few thousand of the more than 250,000 cables had been published, and only in redacted form to protect US diplomatic sources.

Although the 250,000 cables were not in the archive, it included a mysterious encrypted file called “z.gpg” — which appears to have been created months before Wikileaks gave the cables to the media.

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In February 2011, Leigh’s book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy” was published. In it he described how Assange passed the cables to the Guardian, along with the password he was given.

There matters sat until Aug. 25 when the website of German newspaper Der Freitag connected the old password with the mysterious “z.gpg” file, although they did not name the file or print the password.

But others clearly knew. By Wednesday, Aug. 31, a few Twitter users were hinting that the password in Leigh’s book worked, and others were drawing attention to “z.gpg.” Within hours, public links to the full, unencrypted cables appeared.

By Thursday morning, the cables were easily available from several file sharing sites commonly used for pirated music and movies.

In a series of tweets and an “editorial” posted earlier this week, Wikileaks blamed Leigh for publishing the password, and former Wikileaks staffer Daniel Domscheit-Berg for revealing the password’s connection to the old file.

Domscheit-Berg told CNN he discovered the connection “by chance” and alerted Die Freitag.

Leigh dismissed the charges as “time-wasting nonsense.”

“What we published much later in our book was obsolete and harmless,” Leigh said. “We did not disclose the URL (web address) where the file was located, and in any event, Assange had told us it would no longer exist.”

Leigh claims that he was not even given the same file as the one now circulating. The file obtained by unlocking “z.gpg” is slightly different than an archive of the cables obtained earlier this year by the Associated Press.

But both files used the same password. After Wikileaks published the file and Leigh published the password, it was only a matter of time before someone made the connection.


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Read Comments (9)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Sep 01, 2011 at 06:47 PM PMOinFL Says:

This is the problem. To all those liberal anarchists out there who don't think there are consequences to this kind of insane behavior, there are.

I hope and pray that anyone caught disclosing these confidential national secrets is tried, convicted and put to death for treason. Those who are doing this are traitors to this country. They are traitors to everything that is GOOD about America. These people are enemies of our nation and must be stopped (killed) before they cause any significant damage to our nation. They are terrorists like any other.

2

 Sep 01, 2011 at 08:19 PM Chaim_Ben-Yehuda Says:

Reply to #1  
PMOinFL Says:

This is the problem. To all those liberal anarchists out there who don't think there are consequences to this kind of insane behavior, there are.

I hope and pray that anyone caught disclosing these confidential national secrets is tried, convicted and put to death for treason. Those who are doing this are traitors to this country. They are traitors to everything that is GOOD about America. These people are enemies of our nation and must be stopped (killed) before they cause any significant damage to our nation. They are terrorists like any other.

"I hope and pray that anyone caught disclosing these confidential national secrets is tried, convicted and put to death for treason. Those who are doing this are traitors to this country. They are traitors to everything that is GOOD about America. These people are enemies of our nation and must be stopped (killed) before they cause any significant damage to our nation. They are terrorists like any other."

May we assume therefore that you would apply those same criteria to Jonathan Jay Pollard?

Pollard consistently and continuously stole American military secrets, which he was completely unauthorized even to see, and sold them (yes, sold them) to Israel. The damage he caused to the security of the United States and the danger in which he uncaringly put American military personnel in was vast. We do not even know yet how many American service men and women lost their lives because of Pollard's arrogant treachery.

So, PMOinFl, by your standards Pollard should have been executed 25 years ago.

Do you still still stand by your bombastic and gung-ho statement? Or is a Jewish traitor to be treated somehow differently from any other who sells his country for a few thousand dollars?

3

 Sep 01, 2011 at 08:49 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #2  
Chaim_Ben-Yehuda Says:

"I hope and pray that anyone caught disclosing these confidential national secrets is tried, convicted and put to death for treason. Those who are doing this are traitors to this country. They are traitors to everything that is GOOD about America. These people are enemies of our nation and must be stopped (killed) before they cause any significant damage to our nation. They are terrorists like any other."

May we assume therefore that you would apply those same criteria to Jonathan Jay Pollard?

Pollard consistently and continuously stole American military secrets, which he was completely unauthorized even to see, and sold them (yes, sold them) to Israel. The damage he caused to the security of the United States and the danger in which he uncaringly put American military personnel in was vast. We do not even know yet how many American service men and women lost their lives because of Pollard's arrogant treachery.

So, PMOinFl, by your standards Pollard should have been executed 25 years ago.

Do you still still stand by your bombastic and gung-ho statement? Or is a Jewish traitor to be treated somehow differently from any other who sells his country for a few thousand dollars?

So, to answer your obviously loaded question, I will start by obliterating your premise.

Pollard was not convicted of treason. Period.

Had what he did lived up to the standard of treason, I must admit the conflict. As an American, I would have supported his execution. At the same time, as a Yid, I would have to fight for his life with everything I had.

Now, one could argue that someone who sells US secrets puts the lives of Jews in jeopardy. One COULD view a treasonous person as a rodef, if his goal is to kill Americans (including Jews).

Pollard, I admit, is a hard one.

4

 Sep 01, 2011 at 09:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
PMOinFL Says:

So, to answer your obviously loaded question, I will start by obliterating your premise.

Pollard was not convicted of treason. Period.

Had what he did lived up to the standard of treason, I must admit the conflict. As an American, I would have supported his execution. At the same time, as a Yid, I would have to fight for his life with everything I had.

Now, one could argue that someone who sells US secrets puts the lives of Jews in jeopardy. One COULD view a treasonous person as a rodef, if his goal is to kill Americans (including Jews).

Pollard, I admit, is a hard one.

PMO, you did not "obliterate" his argument. I still see it online. But if you want to use sophisticated terminology, the word for this situation is "dismantle". Just thought you might want a helping hand.

5

 Sep 01, 2011 at 10:53 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

PMO, you did not "obliterate" his argument. I still see it online. But if you want to use sophisticated terminology, the word for this situation is "dismantle". Just thought you might want a helping hand.

LOL! Can't a man take some artistic license here?

Thanks for the laugh.... point taken. :-)

6

 Sep 02, 2011 at 04:38 AM The-Macher Says:

I would have supported Pollard's removal from this earth and I would have celebrated it as I celebrated the removal of McVeigh from this earth. I will do the same if he peygers in jail.

He did what he did for money and picked the medine only after others did not want to pay him.

He is worse than Assange; Assange, who also deserves some volts or a rope, acts out of misguided ideology. Pollard had a drug problem and sold secrets for drug money.

7

 Sep 02, 2011 at 12:36 AM charliehall Says:

Reply to #3  
PMOinFL Says:

So, to answer your obviously loaded question, I will start by obliterating your premise.

Pollard was not convicted of treason. Period.

Had what he did lived up to the standard of treason, I must admit the conflict. As an American, I would have supported his execution. At the same time, as a Yid, I would have to fight for his life with everything I had.

Now, one could argue that someone who sells US secrets puts the lives of Jews in jeopardy. One COULD view a treasonous person as a rodef, if his goal is to kill Americans (including Jews).

Pollard, I admit, is a hard one.

Pollard isn't a hard case at all. He sold secrets. He earned his conviction under the espionage statute and the resulting life sentence; Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for a conviction of the same statute for spying for an ally -- they were not convicted of treason. John Walker has been in prison longer than Pollard. Pollard has been eligible for parole for over 15 years but has never applied.

8

 Sep 02, 2011 at 02:27 AM Chaim_Ben-Yehuda Says:

Both of you are wriggling.

9

 Sep 02, 2011 at 06:27 AM Michael BarDaniel Says:

While I do not deny that Jonathan Pollard was found guilty of espionage, fact remains he handed over information to Israel that the US should have handed over for Israel's security. America is an ally of Israel - not its friend. They will help Israel only as long as it helps their cause.
A couple of years ago they forbade Israel to sell modified F16s to China citing they didn't want their equipment in Chinese hands. The deal was for more than $17billion. The US then sold the same equipment to China themselves. $3billion a year doesn't sound quite so much now.
Cases like hitting the USS Liberty spring to mind. If you find it hard to believe they accidentally hit an ally you have to wonder what the US were doing. Why wasn't it investigated by the US Congress? This could simply be a conspiracy theory but there have been many many times the US has harmed Israeli security and the current presidency doesn't really help matters - selling weapons to Arab states etc

10

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