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Julian Assange tells his side of the breakdown between WikiLeaks and The New York Times in releasing the "Afghan Diaries," which Assange says the NYT backed out of one week prior to publication. "They wanted WikiLeaks, a small web startup, to scoop the most influential English paper in the world," says Assange. "They did so because they were scared."
David E. Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, discusses the editorial process the newspaper used to decide how to publish the leaked cables it received from WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange says his organization is not concerned with whether the sensitive information it leaks to the public poses a threat to U.S. national security. "States have national security concerns, we do not," says Assange. "We have concern for human beings."
Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers, accuses President Barack Obama of waging war not just on WikiLeaks, but on all whistle-blowing. Since assuming office, Obama has brought five indictments against whistleblowers -- nearly twice as many as all the previous presidents combined.
Why is WikiLeaks releasing documents from the Pentagon, when there is no shortage of corruption elsewhere in the world? Editor-in-chief Julian Assange regards it as an issue of trust, explaining that he considers it the website's responsibility to publish any classified information likely to have a significant impact -- regardless of diplomatic origins.
Did the U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks belong in the public domain? Former diplomat Sir Richard Dalton argues no, that secrecy plays an extremely important role in international diplomacy.
"Secrets exists for a reason," says Dalton. "Much of this information ... did not belong in the public domain."
"Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg weighs in on the case of U.S. Army P.F.C. Bradley Manning, who is currently accused of leaking over 260,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables to the website WikiLeaks.
"I recognized someone who was in the same spirit as I was forty years ago," says Ellsberg. "He's a hero of mine."
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange addresses the question of how safe confidential sources are in the digital age.
"The chance of your source getting run over by a car," he says, "are vastly higher than they are of being caught."
Julian Assange comments on Private First Class Bradley Manning's alleged involvement in disclosing classified information to WikiLeaks. Assange denies any knowledge of Manning's involvement and claims to have "never heard the name" before he saw media reports on the case.
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange explains why the organization has to provide text summaries of its raw data, as well as edit and annotate its raw video. Without the context, Assange says the site's more esoteric and technical content would simply "fall into the gutter."
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange discusses apparent inconsistencies in the reporting of friendly fire events as exposed by the Afghan War Diaries. Assange implies that U.S. soldiers are misfiling reports to cover up war crimes.
Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman describes a video posted anonymously to the watchdog website WikiLeaks that shows a U.S. helicopter attacking and killing over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff.
"You see these individuals on the ground blown to pieces," she says. "This shows the power of actually having the video tape, showing the pictures."
In this April 2010 highlight, WikiLeaks Editor Julian Assange recalls a few of the various government efforts to monitor and potentially shut down the site. "Whenever you see surveillance, what you're seeing is always the tip of the iceberg," he notes, "because it's when people have screwed up."
The Pentagon publicly demanded WikiLeaks "return" the Afghan War Diary, a collection of U.S. military logs the website published online, and any other classified material it has slated for release. But how could the organization effectively return digital documents? Editor-in-chief Julian Assange jokes, "Should we just email 400,000 records back to the Pentagon?"
As an example of how regulatory systems fail to keep pace with technological change, William Davidow points to Pvt. Bradley Manning. Manning allegedly managed to steal thousands of classified documents from a secure government network by hiding the files on a CD-RW labeled "Lady Gaga."
"What the Internet has done is its ... empowered the individual to do things a thousand well-trained Soviet spies could never do," says Davidow.
Blogger Evgeny Morozov assesses the value of WikiLeaks as an anonymous portal for information and its network of analysts that distribute the data. He argues WikiLeaks may undermine its own relevance and uniqueness as it matures and continues to develop relationships with traditional news organizations.
Mark McArdle, CEO of tinyHippos, and CIGI Distinguished Fellow Paul Heinbecker discuss the differences between Wikileaks' Julian Assange and famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. McArdle and Heinbecker agree that unlike the Pentagon Papers, the WikiLeaks cables represent an "indiscriminate" leaking of information. "Ellsberg went out on a limb, because he saw something that fundamentally bothered him," says McArdle.
National University of Singapore law professor Simon Chesterman explores what the future may hold for Julian Assange and Pfc. Bradley Manning, the major actors in the WikiLeaks affair.