WikiLeaks posts huge encrypted file to Web

Aug 05, 2010 By RAPHAEL G. SATTER , Associated Press Writer
In this Sunday Aug. 1, 2010, photo released by CBS, Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discusses the war in Afghanistan on CBS's "Face The Nation" in Washington. Mullen said the Pentagon is trying to protect Afghans who may be at risk from Taliban retaliation following the publication of tens of thousands of secret war documents, posted on the website WikiLeaks a week ago. He said the U.S. is duty-bound to try to shield informants who were named in the documents. (AP Photo/CBS, Chris Usher) NO ARCHIVES. NO SALES.

(AP) -- Online whistle-blower WikiLeaks has posted a huge encrypted file named "Insurance" to its website, sparking speculation that those behind the organization may be prepared to release more classified information if authorities interfere with them.

Bloggers have noted that it's 20 times larger than the batch of 77,000 secret U.S. military documents about Afghanistan that dumped onto the Web last month. Contributors to tech sites such as CNet have speculated that the file could be a way of threatening to disclose more information if WikiLeaks' staffers were detained or if the site was attacked, although the organization itself has kept mum.

"As a matter of policy, we do not discuss security procedures," WikiLeaks said Thursday in an e-mail response to questions about the 1.4 gigabyte file.

Editor-in-chief Julian Assange was a bit more expansive - if equally cryptic - in his response to the same line of questioning in a television interview with independent U.S. news network Democracy Now!

"I think it's better that we don't comment on that," Assange said, according to the network's transcript of the interview. "But, you know, one could imagine in a similar situation that it might be worth ensuring that important parts of history do not disappear."

Assange, a former computer , has expressed concern over his safety in the past, complaining of surveillance and telling interviewers that he's been warned away from visiting the United States.

Since the publication of the Afghanistan files, at least one activist associated with the site has been questioned by U.S. authorities. Programmer Jacob Appelbaum, who filled in for Assange at a conference last month, was reportedly detained and questioned about the site by officials after arriving in the U.S. on a flight from the Netherlands.

U.S. officials have had harsh words for Assange, with Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying he and his colleagues had disclosed potentially life-threatening information and might already have blood on their hands.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has refused to rule out the possibility that Assange could be a target into the military's investigation into the leak.

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More information: Democracy Now! interview: http://bit.ly/cDw1LX

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jabo
Aug 05, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
googleplex
3 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2010
Probably just a bluff as I think any file can be decrypted given enough time and processing power. But then again there is a chance it could be for real i.e. contain an embarrassing document.
In any case it is an aggressive move by wikileaks that will no doubt anger their adversaries.
fixer
not rated yet Aug 05, 2010
One of the problems with blackmail, the price can go up, and the hostage usually dies!
I think Editor-in-chief Julian Assange may soon become part of that history he talks about protecting.

BIG mistake just to get your name in lights!
bottomlesssoul
not rated yet Aug 05, 2010
Facts are so very hard to negotiate when there is so much emotional investment. I wonder if there are deep things we can learn about wikileaks that are more than the facts in the data. Maybe maintaining secrecy because of fear is not only bad for any individual doing so but may be more bad when the shameful secret is shared by a large group.

I don't know the answers to this but for myself I have found it better to live without shameful secrets I'm too afraid to share. I work better with the lights on.
Arikin
not rated yet Aug 06, 2010
Yes the agencies keep secrets (exa. CIA working with the military). The assimilation of information is their job.

It becomes just a matter of if and when they release the information. Most should be released once the network of informants are safe.

The problem arises when those in control of the information continue to withhold information to hide something. This is where intent for doing so is very important.

We are fighting a war. Of course the details will be gruesome. And information becomes time and trust sensitive. But once it becomes irrelevant then there better be an "insurance" file after to examine in the open.

Accountability only hurts when you are not doing your job with honest intent!
Caliban
not rated yet Aug 06, 2010
Right-
Just ask David letterman about the power of blackmail...
I think that the facts speak for themselves, regarding the info made public by Wikileaks, and that the organization is correct in understanding, and acting upon, a concern for its well-being.

This is a high-stakes strategy, and one would expect that the PTB have an idea of what this file might contain- probably not a good idea to play with fire- doesn't seem to be a situation where threats -or even more direct action- would be a winning strategy, given the possible consequences, even with 80 percent of Americans being -for all intents and purposes- asleep.
JamesThomas
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 06, 2010
"U.S. officials have had harsh words for Assange, with Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying he and his colleagues had disclosed potentially life-threatening information and might already have blood on their hands."

Gawd! If that isn't a monstrous case of the pot calling the kettle black!