Vanity Fair profiles Julian Assange: Wikileaks threatened to sue Guardian over leaked cables


VF's feature on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is now available online. Snip:

The partnership between The Guardian and WikiLeaks brought together two desperately ambitious organizations that happen to be diametric opposites in their approach to reporting the news. One of the oldest newspapers in the world, with strict and established journalistic standards, joined up with one of the newest in a breed of online muckrakers, with no standards at all except fealty to an ideal of "transparency"–that is, dumping raw material into the public square for people to pick over as they will. It is very likely that neither Alan Rusbridger nor Julian Assange fully understood the nature of the other's organization when they joined forces. The Guardian, like other media outlets, would come to see Assange as someone to be handled with kid gloves, or perhaps latex ones–too alluring to ignore, too tainted to unequivocally embrace.

No standards at all!

But among the more interesting revelations in this piece: at one point, VF reports that Assange threatened to sue The Guardian because he was upset that the newspaper secured an unauthorized copy of one leak "package" from a Wikileaks volunteer, and was considering breaking the embargo.

In other words: Wikileaks was going to sue The Guardian over a leak, because Assange believed he owned the content which had been leaked to him.

Enraged that he had lost control, Assange unleashed his threat, arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released.

Go ahead and let that one sink in a minute.

Related: Some guy named Graydon Carter wrote some stuffs about hackers. "It has all been quite a circus, these serial acts of aggression, reaction, and revenge." Hurr hurr! Hackers.