What’s the deepest threat that WikiLeaks poses?
As a reporter who’s covered tightly contested elections, I’ve learned that the trick to writing about races where outcomes aren’t clear is to really balance the story — even if it means calibrating it down to the weight of a hair. These stories are usually written amidst many conflicting passions — this makes writing trickier than ever.
The ensuing WikiLeaks drama is one of those stories where everyone, with bated breath, is just waiting for the coin to drop. The whistleblower site is loved and feared, challenged and yet fiercely protected. Even while Assange and WikiLeaks gatekeepers trumpet its invincibility, WikiLeaks’ main web host, Amazon, has pulled the plug on its services, leaving the site to flail after the release of its catastrophic diplomatic cables, reflecting a severe lack of confidence after the rash of hacks against its regular Swedish host, Bahnhof. My anonymous visitor wrote in response to a previous post, WikiLeaks v. Th3J35t3r, DOS attacks may not amount to much, but some temporary chaos will make a dent in the light that the site purports to shine: “It’s not about whether Wikileaks can be taken down, but undermining confidence in the organization.”
The deepening drama about WikiLeaks’ depleting bank of trust is a story about growing rifts of our times. The website’s guards are increasingly on the defensive, lashing out on Twitter against mainstream media, governments, institutions, pushing themselves further out to the edge. As WikiLeaks prepares for the release of its Bank of America docs, and Corporate America grits its teeth, the deep and irreconcilable hurts in this country will only deepen. These divisions are possibly really the most abstract but most profound threats that WikiLeaks poses.