NPR logo Vanity Fair: Assange Threatened To Sue Newspaper If It Published Wires


Vanity Fair: Assange Threatened To Sue Newspaper If It Published Wires

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during an interview with ABC News. hide caption

toggle caption

Sarah Ellison at Vanity Fair has a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the relationship between Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, and the big, respected news organizations he had to work with to bring to light the thousands of leaked documents WikiLeaks attained.

Ellison opens her piece with Assange at the offices of The Guardian, where he's having an intense conversation with Alan Rusbridger, the paper's editor. Assange is sweaty and angry that the paper is about to publish some documents without his permission and he threatens to sue them if they go with the story:

[Assange] had become the victim of his own methods: someone at WikiLeaks, where there was no shortage of disgruntled volunteers, had leaked the last big segment of the documents, and they ended up at The Guardian in such a way that the paper was released from its previous agreement with Assange—that The Guardian would publish its stories only when Assange gave his permission. 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.

The piece is worth a read; it's an intimate portrait of the unlikely collaboration between The Guardian, a British paper that's made a name for itself because of its intensity and fearlessness and Assange, the enigmatic and ambitious man who's become the face of Wikileaks.