Radical transparency is no excuse for outing people, naming teenage rape victims and disclosing health records.
But WikiLeaks, the website famous for publishing classified and otherwise-secret government information, doesn’t want you to fixate on that.
Instead, in response to a damning Associated Press report which found WikiLeaks has published extremely sensitive information about hundreds of innocent people, the group would rather distract you by claiming that the AP is being partisan, or that the information in its article is “recycled.”
“US big media scramble to side with presumptive winner #Clinton,” WikiLeaks tweeted in response to the story. “We expect many more recycled attacks like AP’s today as our leaks continue.”
(Regarding the claim of “recycled” material, WikiLeaks stated in a second tweet the story is a re-run of a narrative from 2015, surfacing now because of the U.S. presidential election. It isn’t: The two stories are vastly different.)
In addition to more than 500 files that included the sort of passport, academic, and employment information that identity-theft criminals covet, the AP investigation found WikiLeaks, among other things, published information that publicly identified a Saudi man as gay (which is punishable by death in the country), named teenage rape victims, released marital certificates that indicated whether the bride was a virgin or not, and disclosed the identities of people whose partners have HIV.
The website has redacted sensitive information in the past, notes Foreign Policy, aided by media partners willing to take on the task.
In 2011, after the site published a trove of diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told PBS, “We don’t want innocent people who have a decent chance of being hurt to be hurt.”
That no longer appears to be a concern.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.