Breaking news from Wikileaks you might have missed!

Yesterday I received an 750-word from the Wikileaks email address ( in response to my critical article about the service. I’d love to reprint it, but the author had the temerity to preface it with the request “off the record.” There are journalists who support the notion that a unilateral request of “off the record” need not be honored (Dan Gillmor citing Glen Greenwald), so I was tempted to post it. After all, it was well-written, it doesn’t expose privileged information, and it wouldn’t bring embarassment to the author. The writer makes excellent points about journalism, the blogosphere and censorship. I will quote this, so far: “Knowledge is the creator and regulator of all law. It must be placed beyond law.” That’s a deeply profound observation– I’m not being facetious– and I concede that I hardly possess the philosophical wits to tangle with it.

Still, the remote possibility that Wikileaks could be party to leaking some information embarassing to me (like early USENET postings) made me hold the trigger. In addition, why be a jerk? The sardonic/moronic “Go Flock Yourself” blog once reprinted whole a tip I sent them (without my name); their fate was that they vanished from the web. So it’s bad karma. I told the Wikileaks emailer that I could hold off on publishing it, and he/she/it promised to send me a cleaned up version.

The first Wikileaks email did inform me that there are ten scoops sitting on the front page, waiting to be reported on.

So, these are some of this week’s unheralded Wikileaks scoops. (I’ve added the ! to make them scoopalicious)

  • First Atomic Bomb Diagram! Wikileaks concedes: “Given the high quality of other Wikileaks submissions the document may be what it purports to be, or it may be an intelligence agency fraud, designed to mislead atomic weapons development programs.” (it could be one of the declassified diagrams from this book.)
  • Seven Years Of Failed Strength Tests From US Steel Mills! The submitter claims that “bad steel is being used to make 100’s of buildings – civilian and military” and that “Buildings are subject to collapse.” My read here is that the steel mill produced steel structures which failed internal tests, they were documented, and the problem was dealt with. Buyers check the inspections, don’t buy failed materials, and the mill cleans up its practices. I assume that. Anyone can fax in some failed test documents.
  • Cablevision Responds to FBI Subpoena With PATRIOT Act! The wikileaks submitter claims that this is unrelated to terrorism, and the PATRIOT Act is only supposed to be limited to terrorism, and therefore, “it shows the FBI is abusing the terrorist act.” The body of the attached letter is only 49 words. I don’t know how they could anywhere conclude whether it has or has not anything to do with terrorism.
  • US Army Lessons Learned — battle of Mosul 2004 — This and other CALL documents are at (Grant that GS does not have battle of Samarra)
  • Governor Linked to Prostitution Ring!

Ok, that last one was actually in the Times. It was leaked the old-fashioned way: to the beat reporters.

And, obviously, these stories are in the very early stage of the pipeline. But it seems like any due diligence can dismiss them. But for now, while the leakage of non-US-military documents is kinda slow, they probably stick around for variety’s sake. To be fair they did air some 208 pages of documents from the Church of Scientology, which got noticed on Slashdot, though, to be fairer yet, the war between Scientology and anonymous Internet exposers has been going on since 1994.

There is a fresh piece of original reporting on Wikileaks, a story titled “Rock impresario Tony Defries lost $22 million in an offshore tax evasion scheme,” bringing to light a court case from a few years back. It’s credited to Lucy Komisar, an invesigative journalist who incidentally first published the story on her own website. She was sent on the trail by a mention of “Swiss Partners” in the Elmer/BJB document trove. But is Komisar in cahoots with Wikileaks, or did she authorize it, or did they just copy it from her? I will ask… (and I did. Lisa emailed to tell me that she did grant Wikileaks permission to repost her article.)