Ever since Julian Assange, the enigmatic founder of secret-sharing wbesite Wikileaks, was accused of rape, rumors have swirled of a revolt among Wikileaks organizers. These rumors are justified now, with news that Wikileaks spokesman Daniel Schmitt has quit.
German newspaper Der Spiegel reports that Schmitt quit amid tensions with Assange. Schmitt told Der Spiegel that Assange had started focusing too much on large projects—like the massive 77,000-document Afghanistan leak—instead of the many smaller leaks that used to be Wikileaks' trade. Anytime Schmitt criticized Assange's plans, Assange shot back "that I was disobedient to him and unloyal to the project."
Schmitt also sheds light on an apparent morale problem within Wikileaks, which has been battered by harsh criticism both over Assange's sleazy dismissal of the rape and sexual molestation charges against him as a Pentagon "smear campaign," and over allegations that Wikileaks didn't do enough to protect Afghan informants' identities in their Afghanistan leak.
"We have lost the faith that we are all pulling together," Schmitt told Der Spiegel.
This is a huge blow to Wikileaks. Schmitt was the most visible face of the organization besides Assange, and he acted as a much-needed rational counterbalance to Assange's bluster and conspiracy theorizing. Schmitt's departure also comes as tensions within Wikileaks appear to be on the rise. Earlier this month, one of Wikileaks most prominent insiders, Icelandic legislator Birgitta Jonsdottir, called for Assange to step aside.
Update: Wikileaks' official Twitter account (that is, Julian Assange) claims the Der Spiegel article is 'misleading':
Spiegel report Schmitt resigned which is misleading. Schmitt was suspended a month ago.
(Know more? Submit your Wikileaks-related leaks to Wikileakileaks.)
[Picture of Daniel Schmitt (left) by AP. Picture of Julian Assange (right) from an appearance on Swedish television]