Wikileaks.org is a website legendary in certain circles for posting documents people want hidden from the world. The Pentagon is not a fan. Now, Wikileaks is accusing the U.S. of spying on its editors.
Tonight, Wikileaks tweeted that it was "currently under an aggressive US and Icelandic surveillance operation," and provided a few creepy details:
These might sound like the paranoid rantings of an Internet nutjob, but coming from Wikileaks we are inclined to the believe them: In 2008, the Pentagon commissioned a report on the site, which found that "'WikiLeaks.org represents a potential force protection, counterintelligence, OPSEC and INFOSEC threat to the U.S. Army' - or, in plain English, a threat to Army operations and information," according to the Times. (Wikileaks posted the report to its site last week.)
Wikileaks, which is run by a 9-person advisory board, has built a reputation based on its impressive record of posting secret documents like the ones that threaten the U.S. Army. These include emails hacked from Sarah Palin's private account, 570,000 pager messages from 9/11 and the infamous climate change scientist emails. They have also posted sensitive U.S. military documents—most prominently the standard operating procedures for Guantanamo Bay.
Judging from their tweets, Wikileaks believes the surveillance is related to an upcoming presentation where they will show unencrypted footage of a May 7 U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan which killed 97 civilians:
The Pentagon had originally planned to show the video as proof that it had conducted the operation appropriately, despite having used airbursting bombs with civilians in the area. They later back-pedaled, likely because video was actually more incriminating than they first believed. Wikileaks obtained a copy of the encrypted video, and in January they tweeted "Have encrypted videos of US bomb strikes on civilians... we need super computer time." They must have got that super computer time, and now U.S. authorities may be acting positively Chinese.
Secret-sharing websites like Wikileaks have proven adept at dealing with legal challenges: When Cryptome.org was shut down by Microsoft earlier this year a mirror site was up within hours. But pissing off the government regarding national security matters is a whole other level. If anything happens to Wikileaks, you know who is responsible.
(If you're wondering what the editors were doing in Iceland: Wikileaks is currently helping draft legislation that would make the country a safe haven for investigative journalists. Ha!)