Former Wikileaks employee destroys unpublished leaked documents

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daniel Domscheit-Berg at 26C3
Image: Andreas Gaufer.

A former Wikileaks employee has destroyed 3,500 unpublished leaks to Julian Assange’s site, and taken the site’s encrypted system to create a spinoff project.

Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Assange’s former right-hand man, left Wikileaks last year after a disagreement between the pair; and, has now demolished files sent to the Wikileaks site such as the US no-fly list, Bank of America documents and "detailed information about 20 neo-Nazi groups".

Domscheit-Berg took the whistle-blower site's submission system to create a rival-site, OpenLeaks, consequently Wikileaks will not be able to receive online leaked files, and will have to use "snail mail" from an Australian PO box.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Domscheit-Berg said the unpublished documents had been shredded to protect their sources. In his book published this year, 'Inside Wikileaks', he revealed his motives for destroying the files and taking the encrypted system, writing, "children shouldn’t play with guns". He stated the material would be returned to Assange "if and when he can prove that he can store the material securely and handle it carefully".

Wikileaks retaliated, claiming the destroying of documents hindered the "leaking of many issues of public importance", accusing Domsheit-Berg of theft and sabotage. Via twitter, Wikileaks gave several responses over the weekend, writing, "DDB spits on every courageous whistleblower who leaked data if they destroy the keys and refuse to return it".

In a statement made by Wikileaks, Assange claims Domscheit-Berg was in contact with the FBI, and is assisting the US investigation into the site. Another statement from Wikileaks claims Domscheit-Berg has "repeatedly attempted to blackmail Wikileaks by threatening to make available, to forces that oppose Wikileaks, these private communications".

On August 14, Wikileaks accused OpenLeaks of stealing its ideas. Domscheit-Berg aims to make the rival site a more transparent and democratic site than Wikileaks.