When the case surrounding the alleged August rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high-school football players in a small Ohio city went viral last week, the attention of a nation turned to a little-known outfit called LocalLeaks, a website styling itself after WikiLeaks and partnering with the do-gooder hacking collective Anonymous on a document and video dump that it calls The Steubenville Files. Now, as the secretive editors, hackers, and lawyers behind LocalLeaks prepare to release "huge revelations" in anticipation of next month's trial, they've disclosed to The Atlantic Wire how they're enhancing their operation to transform a flood of local tips into evidence in the court of public opinion — and what they're about to reveal next, about the controversial county sheriff's alleged involvement in a gambling ring and beyond.
Overwhelmed, and Inventing a Leak Process 'on the Fly'
LocalLeaks' editor-in-chief, who remained anonymous while exchanging emails with The Atlantic Wire this week, says the site is "very similar to WikiLeaks." But the group have no interest in the high public profile of Julian Assange: LocalLeaks members are not revealing their identities, and not just because of its "working relationship" with the KnightSec branch of the Anonymous collective. A far cry from hackers and activists in Guy Fawkes masks, LocalLeaks is a smaller clan of "truth-seekers" spread across the globe; KnightSec "is NOT responsible and has no control over what we publish on LocalLeaks," the editor wrote. When asked where the group was located, the editor responded "Planet Earth," adding that he and a chief analyst live outside of the United States, working alongside a California-based lawyer and a group of 10 volunteers that may soon grow to 20 or 25, along with considerations of "adding a fourth permanent staff person as well, possibly a professional journalist."