A Dispatch Disaster in Six Acts
In the end, all the efforts at confidentiality came to naught. Everyone who knows a bit about computers can now have a look into the 250,000 US diplomatic dispatches that WikiLeaks made available to select news outlets late last year. All of them. What's more, they are the unedited, unredacted versions complete with the names of US diplomats' informants -- sensitive names from Iran, China, Afghanistan, the Arab world and elsewhere.
Act One: The Whistleblower and the Journalist
The story began with a secret deal. When David Leigh of the Guardian finally found himself sitting across from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as the British journalist recounts in his book "Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy", the two agreed that Assange would provide Leigh with a file including all of the diplomatic dispatches received by WikiLeaks.
Assange placed the file on a server and wrote down the password on a slip of paper -- but not the entire password. To make it work, one had to complete the list of characters with a certain word. Can you remember it? Assange asked. Of course, responded Leigh.
It was the first step in a disclosure that became a worldwide sensation. As a result of Leigh's meeting with Assange, not only the Guardian, but also the New York Times, Read more.