Three months after he had given the Guardian most of his collection of nearly a quarter of a million leaked documents, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.org, stormed into the office of Alan Rusbridger, the paper's editor, with his lawyer. He was furious. In an ironic turn of events, one of Assange's employees at WikiLeaks had leaked the last big chunk of the documents to the Guardian, absolving the paper of a previous agreement with Assange to roll out the now infamous diplomatic cables one chunk at a time. I own this information, Assange essentially told Rusbridger, before threatening to sue. Just seven days later, the leaks got out.
WikiLeaks, which was founded by Assange in 2006 to create "an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis," stands for transparency if nothing else. In exclusive interview after exclusive interview, Assange has reminded reporters of that. "[M]ost of the times, transparency and openness tends to lead [toward a more just society]," Assange told Time magazine's managing editor Richard Stengel over Skype, "because abusive plans or behavior get opposed, and so those organizations which tend to commit them are opposed before the plan's implemented...." But WikiLeaks is an organization, and one that is starving for cash to continue operating. Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and a number of other companies have cut off WikiLeaks because of the controversy surrounding the diplomatic cables. It was in Assange's best interest -- philosophy be damned -- to roll out the documents at a pace that would keep press coverage at a maximum level.