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Is WikiLeaks Reliable? 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Is Wikileaks accurate? (Getty)

Is Wikileaks accurate? (Getty)

Wikileaks champions itself as the “new model of journalism” through its whistleblowing activities, but its focus on the 2016 presidential election may have hit too close to home.

The US publicly blamed Russia for recent email leaks on October 7. It suggested publications like Wikileaks that hosted the material were also Russian-backed. The controversy surrounding the leaks has pushed its way onto the presidential debate stage. Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton has questioned the reliability of Wikileaks and rival Donald Trump’s personal admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The non-profit is as secretive as its founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange. While there’s no smoking gun that reveals Wikileaks as a Russian project, the impact the whistleblowing site will have in this election is undeniable.

Here’s what you need to know about Wikileaks:


1. Wikileak’s Founder Julian Assange Started Hacking Governments as a Teenager

Julian Assange hacking

Assange started hacking under the name “Mendax” before Web sites existed (Getty)

When he was 16, Assange took up hacking at a time when Web sites were still nonexistent. Still, with a modem and a computer, he worked with others to break into secure networks including the US Department of Defense. His group, International Subversives, followed the Golden Rules, according to a book called “Underground”, reports the New Yorker.

“Don’t damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don’t change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information.”

The law caught up with Assange and in 1999 he admitted to hacking the systems of Australian National University, RMIT and Telecom, Courier Mail reports. He went on to found Wikileaks in 2006, a whistleblowing site that describes itself as, “a new model of journalism” that has strict standards for accuracy.


2. DNC Hacker “Guccifer 2.0” Says He’s Not Russian, but Cybersecurity Firms Say Otherwise

debbie wasserman schultz, debbie wasserman schultz dnc

Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned after the DNC hacks (Getty)

Cybersecurity firms have concluded that Russia was behind Democratic National Committee hack, which exposed bias the toward Hillary Clinton’s campaign. An online persona called “Guccifer 2.0” claimed responsibility for hacking the DNC and sharing files with Wikileaks, though he claimed no connection with Russia.

Reports from multiple cybersecurity firms suggest otherwise. Hired by the DNC to look into the attack, Crowdstrike attributed the leaks to two Russian groups, Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear. Cyber-analysis firm ThreatConnect investigated Internet protocol addresses and found a domain name, misdepatrment.com, all but identical to the DNC’s cybersecurity firm except for the misplaced r. ThreatConnect says Fancy Bear has used the technique before, probably to trick targets into thinking emails are coming from a known and trusted source, reports the Washington Post.

Regardless of the source of the leaked emails, not a single email or document’s contents has yet been disputed says the Intercept reporter Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald called out Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald for suggesting a three way alliance between Trump, Wikileaks and Russia after the presidential nominee used an inaccurate report about a Wikileaks email that came from a Russian government outlet.


3. Hillary’s Campaign Has Disputed the Contents of the Latest Email Leak: The Podesta Emails

Clinton’s Campaign Chair John Podesta, is the latest target of email leaks published on Wikileaks. The site just released the second batch of 50,000 emails. So far, the emails have invited closer scrutiny over Clinton’s cozy relationship with Wall Street and Bill Clinton’s sex life.

Clinton’s campaign has discredited the hacks as a Russian-backed operation intended to, “throw the election to Trump.” In the second presidential debate against Trump, Clinton referred to a October 7 report where the US officially blamed Russia for recent hacks including email leaks. She has said Trump’s stated admiration for Russian president Vladimir Putin is particularly concerning. However, she seemed to acknowledge the leaks were true when she clarified an email with an excerpt of her paid speeches to Wall Street.

Podesta suggested that Russians were behind the leaks and that they contain fake documents. Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine also questioned the authenticity of the emails in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union”.

“They’ve put out documents that are purported to be from my account,” Podesta told Fox News.

John Podesta: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

John Podesta, Chair of Hillary Clinton for America, is the latest target of email leaks that included excerpts of speeches to Wall Street executives.

Click here to read more

4. Wikileaks is Set Up So it’s Nearly Impossible for Governments to Shut it Down

Julian Assange Wikileaks founder DNC Hacks

Julian Assange imposes secrecy on Wikileaks operations (Getty)

Unlike hard copy files, Wikileak’s publications are nearly impossible to wipe out. Wikileaks hosts its publications on servers worldwide such as Sweden, Iceland and Belgium. For the US to shut down the operation, it would have to deal with international laws, which provide strong protections for whistleblowers in many cases, the Telegraph reports.

For example, the Swedish internet hosting company PRQ hosts Wikileaks as well as file sharing website Pirate Bay. PRQ founder Mikael Viborg told the Telegraph that Wikileaks has its publications backed up should its current servers go down. The site is rumored to have servers 30 meters underground in a Cold War nuclear bunker.

Wikileaks also protects its sources with the same secrecy. Wikileaks’s Assange says it uses encryption to, “bounce stuff around the internet to hide trails.” Wikileaks said on October 16 that a “state party” disrupted Assange’s internet and added that it had contingency plans.

Wikileaks Press Conference: What Did Julian Assange Say?

Did Julian Assange release an October Surprise about Hillary Clinton during the Wikileaks press conference today? Find out what he said here.

Click here to read more

5. The US Has Officially Linked Wikileaks to Russia

DHS hacking blamed on Russia

The Department of Homeland Security blamed the recent hacks on Russia (Getty)

The US intelligence community has officially pinned recent cybersecurity attacks on Russia. It also claimed that whistleblower sites that published the emails like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks were also connected to Russia. The report concluded that only, “Russia’s senior most officials could have authorized these activities.”

The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts…These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process,” according to the joint statement from the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security

Like National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, Assange is no friend to the federal government. The Wikileaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, evading extradition to Sweden where he is wanted on rape allegations. Wikileaks fears that the US will take Assange if he is extradited to Sweden. Its spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsoon said they would only believe US if it issues an official confirmation that it won’t prosecute Wikileaks.

UPDATE: The post has been updated to with Clinton’s response to a Wikileaks email as well as reporter Glenn Greenwald’s take on the Media’s relationship with Clinton’s campaign.

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73 comments

    • That’s not true. Wikileaks is not reliable at all. How can they be if the sources are anonymous? That’s like saying that anyone can state anything from any where and they post it and some how that makes it a true statement?

      • Hillary realized they were true already. One of the emails leaks revealed, she clarified itl with an excerpt of her paid speeches to Wall Street.

      • that is the most amateur hour statement I have read about anonymous sources I have ever read, and completely ignores the very essence of journalism. If you applied you same style of rejecting any journalism that refused to release sources, you would find there might be fewer than 10 stories a year that the press would actually be willing to write about…because sources would refuse to discuss…leakers would not exists..whistleblowers would not exist.

        the press enforces anonymity for great and real reasons.

        unfortunately, this can also be exploited for false reasoning…for instance…everytime, I read the NYT or some other MSM claiming and “official from x said” ..or “who demanded he not be identified”….it raises a serious level of doubt…and the reasons have NOTHING to do with the use of an anonymous source. No, those doubts come from a complete lack of any evidence that you can point to and evaluate yourself …what you are left with are just words…and nothing to back them up.

        like the cybersecurity firms that concluded…x…or the national intelligence agencies have confirmed x..

        where is the evidence of these conclusions…show them..

        it’s not the sources I am interested in..it is the facts that are required to support the claims.

        if you don’t have them…if you don’t share them…I am not impressed and doubt you have them.

        simple as that.

      • People will fear coming forward without either reasonable protection or anonymity. In the case of Snowden, what was divulged was determined to be illegal by U.S. courts and laws changed as a result. But…charged under the espionage act, he is unable to appear in court and present his case or defense of the disclosure.
        If a hack resulted in ‘finding a body’ would finding the body be considered unimportant and dismissed due to the method by which it was uncovered? If Hillary Clinton has been using a government server as she should have, then I think the outrage would be more justified. The fact is that she exposed herself to the hack (although it may not have been a hack at all and rather, a leak). Disclosing secrets to an enemy is one thing. Disclosing that we are being surveilled as would be an enemy and having the involved agency head lie under oath to congress about it is to me something altogether different.

    • No she did not, but show the Proof and evidence, even a LINK. Julian and Wikileaks and all the Networks (and host), NONE HAVE VALIDATED, or AUTHENTICATED any STOLEN HACKS and HELD and Manipulated Materials… NONE

      But you have Proof, Hillary said was TRUE, so show it?,

  1. so pretty much yes. wl gaves credibility of what otherwise would be a very easy to diz rel info. that’s the whole point; and sort of their obv thing…

  2. I went to the homeland security page and it said they determined it was the Russians because they have done this before and this is the way they did it before, i.e. no proof, don’t writers even read the pages when they links ? this is not exactly evidence. it is more we think so.

  3. I think if wikileaks was faking stories the stories would be much worse. Who cares how they get the info, they’ve never been considered inauthentic until now.

  4. Any site that starts with WIKI is not reliable and that is pretty much proven,…NO it is not reliable , just because they mix truths with lies, to get their main points across…WAKE UP AMERICA….RUSSIA IS IN OUR COUNTRY AND THEY HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN WE TOOK THEM DOWN FROM WITHIN….

  5. Go Wikileaks!! DNC and Clinton have been doing this all along, deny, deny, deny, then a Wikileaks release that show otherwise, then discredit the source instead of addressing the content. Whoops, forgot, take a stab at attributing one of the releases
    to inspiration from watching a movie about Abraham Lincoln.

  6. I call BULLSH*T! This article is so ill informed and clearly biased.

    What we are seeing here is the corporate media and the ruling class trying to discredit a man who is actually speaking truth to power. Of course there is going to be blowback from the powers that be. I never expected Heavy to be such an obvious and shameless shill, however.

  7. Wikileaks are 100% reliable. They have never produced a document that was false. A forensic examination is done on the metadata and the document is not produced or uploaded if it can not be 100% fully authenticated. However, the above article has some misstatements. After the DNC hack, or own head of Homeland Security stated there is no indication Russia was involved.

    • If you really believe that an anonymous posting website is reliable, I have some beach front property to sell you in China.

  8. Wow this article is completely OFF. They are now trying to spread misinformation about Wikileaks who has ALSO published information on Russia. Theere is NO proof that Russia is involved in this and they have a PERFECT track record of authentic untampered sources.for their entire history. Clinton campaign and her supporters are obviously behind this garbage..

  9. WikiLeaks would seem a lot more legit if the dumps weren’t all about Clinton. Certainly they have some info on Trump unless of course they’re just trying to influence an election. Poor wiki-leaks. They were the darling of the american left until this stunt. Now, alone in his room at the embassy, Assange, like Trump is obsessed with being relevant. They have something else in common aside from their apparent hatred of Hillary, they’re both awaiting court dates for sexual assault and rape.

    • Another ridiculous comment. ” Surely they have info on Trump” why WHY WOULD THEY? Hillary was an elected official and then an appointed official . They had no reason to hack a private businessman. This is just stupid. And you do get how it works right ? Wikileaks has no control over what info they receive. They are given it by hackers and moles ..then they verify and release. You WISH they would release something on Trump. But no doing so doesn’t make them bias..makes you bias for assuming they are in the tank for trump.. no they want to expose corruption. That’s it. Theg exposed Bush and Assange is a LIBERAL

  10. The use of hacking opponents and planting disinformation has been Russian practice under Putin. It has worked out well for the Russians and we need to remember that Putin was a Colonel in the KGB until the fall of the Soviet Union. He has used the skills learned in the KGB to direct his intelligence units to use the Internet to undermine and sabotage the legitimacy of the US Presidential election. He believes these acts will cast doubt on our Democracy, helping Russia win influence in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Putin also has a personal grudge against Hillary Clinton, whom he blames for inciting opposition protests against his regime in December 2011. It appears that people within Trump’s campaign have been in contact with Julian Assange and Wikileaks to coordinate the release of emails targeting Clinton. We don’t know how intertwined Russian Intelligence is with Wikileaks which means we don’t know what documents are legitimate and which ones have been altered or outright forged. You’d think the American people would be far more upset by having Putin and the Russians manipulating leaks to influence our election in favor of Trump. One thing is for sure, Trump is fatally compromised as a candidate based on his ties to the Russians alone. Trump has proven to be Putin’s “useful idiot” to cripple the American political system. Hillary Clinton may have many flaws but she is no Russian stooge.

    • What evidence is there that Russia did interfere with our election? There is evidence an audio recording of Hillary Clinton that you can find basically anywhere of her being upset that she didn’t right the Israel election I’ll link that soon or you can google it.

  11. Completely unreliable. data is copied from computer to computer and can easily be change by anyone with access to those documents. There really is no evidence chain.

  12. What is stoppig wikileaks or any othe such hacking companies to invent all they say?? they give out lots of info, but where are all the documents to see all of what they say, bting them out, Show the context, show all the emails etc.
    proof is proof!!

  13. Wikileaks has never been caught up on bogus material.
    Doubts about the integrity of the emails is down right ignorant, since many have DKIM signatures, guaranteeing they’re tamper proof.
    All allegations about Russian invovlement are nothing more than speculation and McCarthyite innuendo, also by the US intelligence community (now there’s a reliable source): no hard eivdence of anything has turned up, which, if you know anything about the tools at the NSA’s disposal, likely means it simply does not exist. The five point this article makes are suggestive but nothing at all is actually being stated that contradicts the independance of WikiLeaks as a heroic new journalistic resource or ties them or Trump to the Russian state.

  14. This article is a joke. A feeble attempt to save face on behalf of Hillary. Here is the truth: Wikileakes has been 100% accurate every time. The fact that they are calling out Hillary is the simple fact that she is so corrupt, it all needs to be exposed. End of story.

  15. lets face it, wikileaks is doing a noble thing until they step on the wrong toes. When they were damaging governments to further politicaly correct causes then they were cool. when they do something politically incorrect like attacking Hillary which might help Donald trump then they’re scum.

  16. This ‘Orgy Island’ stuff is confusing. I believe the Clintons did what was said about them. Trump could have been there. BUT what I don’t agree with is these ‘girls’ being innocent victims. $XXXX and a free trip to a private Caribbean island? You could clean out any high school in the US with that offer!

  17. Never forget that the report for Wikileaks has a chance to be fake.

    Call me a “shill” or suppose I’m not “awake”. I dislike both canidates.
    Voting Green Party.

  18. Well at least you buried a crumb of truth to answer the question of reliability amongst the smear-albeit a hyperlink to Greenwald’s true journalism.

    GREENWALD- “Despite WikiLeaks’ perfect, long-standing record of only publishing authentic documents, MSNBC’s favorite ex-intelligence official, Malcolm Nance, within hours of the archive’s release, posted a tweet claiming — with zero evidence and without citation to a single document in the WikiLeaks archive — that it was compromised with fakes:…”

    I encourage you listen to JFK’s speech about the importance of a free press amongst a dark covert force infiltrating our democracy. It’s only 40 years old and the cornerstone of modern journalism.

  19. Several Important issues to consider when reading this and evaluating the article, and the issue as a whole:

    point 1 states Assange is a hacker: noone questions this, as he has admitted to it, in a court of law, where he was charged with a crime.

    point 2 states “Cybersecurity firms have concluded” and then attempts to establish credibility about the validity of these claims. However, there are no substantive, falsifiable evidence references for inspection by any of these cybersecurity firms or this article that establish any of these claims are authentic and factual. Likewise, clinton and podesta make claims about the russian connection and authenticity of the WL releases, but do not provide anything other than mouth service as some kind of “proof”. The larger point I am establishing here, is that there IS a means to establish any of these claims, but none of the so called cybersecurity firms, clinton or podesta have EVER produced any of the falsifiable means to qualify any of their conclusions based merely on heresay. Any legitimate agency can easily provide proof of legitimacy of these material or russian ties. None of them have every produced any of that, for inspection. What they have said amounts to guesses and assumptions based on zero falsifiable evidence. This destroys any legitimate claims to the contrary, they have attempted to establish.

    point 3 states hillary and podesta challenged and addressed some aspects…etc. Again this is related to point 2 above. It is not legitimate a method of establishing fact based arguments to complain with heresay and innuendo…if they have proof to argue these materials are not legitimate, they must provide that falsifiable evidence for inspection. None of them have done that.

    point 4 states WL has good technological and legal defenses to prevent disruption. This is true…they are very transparent about this discussion concerning the ongoing and proactive means in which to protect the material and its content from shutdown or modification. In fact the level of independently consensus that has conclusively determined none of the material has been altered show these methods are effective…and necessary.

    point 5 establishes that national security agencies have “officially” claimed a russian connection. Again this is worth inspecting critically and objectively for what that actually means. The agencies have claimed something. But they have not proved it with falsifiable evidence. one would assume it would be in the best interests of these agencies to provide solid evidence for public inspection and scrutiny. That would give credibility to show the kind of investigation and means in which they have established these claims, so that independent researchers can inspect these details.. But they have not done this. What that have done is provided “statements” mere written opinions, lacking any substantive evidence. And these same statements lacking any evidence to back them up have been repeated over and over by an incompetent press and political figures more interested in disinformation, misinformation, and rhetoric.

    when making extraordinary claims, requires extraordinary evidence.

    where is that evidence?

    we certainly are being fed very extraordinary claims…

    repeating them without addressing the missing component to verify them, is not just disengenous, but dangerous.

    does anyone else get the sense, that far more agencies conduct fake news than just those twits our of macedonia.

    it’s either by intent, or just careless and reckless amateurs, we continue to see stories pushed out, with no effort whatsoever to establish credibility or veracity.

    here is the moral of the iraq war: when you govt and its official reach a foreign policy decision based on opinion and so called facts, the american people must demand falsifiable evidence….strong evidence.

    this is also one of the solutions that WL provides.

    the content is completely open to inspection, and the means to establish its authenticity.

    compare this to the points made in this article and repeated ad naseum elsewhere.

    facts must be supported by evidence..and the methods to determine them.

    period.

  20. Why would Assange need “help” from Russia?

    Assange is the world’s premier government hacker.

    He doesn’t need “help” from Russia.

    He doesn’t need “help” from the U.S.

    He doesn’t need “help” from Israel.

    He doesn’t need “help” from anyone.

    He’s his own man.

  21. No one can rely on wikileaks. No one can be absolutely sure of the source.
    I would not trust some alleged rapist holded-up in an embassy because he does not have the courage to face his accusers….speaks volumes.

  22. This might be one of the most disingenuous ‘articles’ I’ve ever read about Wikileaks, but I will take the time to post some pertinent information for your readers, which you have unfortunately left out of your so-called “facts”.

    1. Wikileaks DOES NOT HACK. The information is ‘leaked’ to them from various sources all over the world. Regardless of where or how the information is provided to them, Wikileaks verifies that information BEFORE they post it. They have a pristine reputation of 100% accuracy in that their documents have never been challenged in a court of law for their veracity and in fact, have been used to convict those exposed in the documents, of crimes. Wikileaks has publicly verified the authenticity of their documents and explained the method they used for that. Assange has stated – repeatedly – that, his source for the Clinton documents is NOT Russia.

    2. Hillary Clinton’s home-brew server, which she kept in a bathroom closet in her home, was HACKED by Marcel Lazar (Guccifer), a taxi cab driver from ROMANIA – not RUSSIA. The hacking of Clinton’s server & ensuing investigation, brought to public light, the fact that she was using an illegal unsecured server for State business. Lazar was extradited from Romania to the US for trial and was convicted for his crimes. This is a separate incident from the Wikileaks revelations, DNC Leaks & Guccifer 2.0.

    3. The Democratic National Committee information that was leaked, for which five top people within the DNC were fired, revealed how the Committee rigged the Primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton even before she announced her candidacy or was nominated. It showed the bias against Bernie Sanders and how the DNC would attempt to discredit him.

    4. The Podesta emails revealed much about the Democratic Party machine, specifically pertaining to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The emails revealed that Obama permitted Citibank to choose his top cabinet members and what the campaign team and Hillary thought of various segments of American society, (which wasn’t exactly flattering).

    5. The leaks also verified that there is a great deal of conflict of interest between Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and The Clinton Foundation, which is currently STILL under FBI investigation(s). If/when Hillary and/or Bill Clinton are ever prosecuted for their crimes, there’s no doubt that the pristine documents put forth by Wikileaks, will be used as evidence.

    Whatever viewpoint one has regarding Julian Assange, Russia or how the documents were obtained, nothing can change the FACT that it is the people named in them, who wrote the vile, denigrating, dirty politics that they contain. You’d think the American public would be more grateful for having their corrupt politicians exposed.

  23. You have to be nuts to think Wikileaks is reliable. The US is fast becoming a nation of idiots desperately looking for some form a validate by finding fault in others. There is no loyalty, only childish slandering and greedy self centeredness. The only reason the US has lost it’s greatness is because of the morons who call themselves Americans, who forgot what America stood for to the world. America is fast becoming a joke to the rest of the world.

  24. Whilst the information they leak is usually credible, the information they choose to leak seems disproportionately focused on targets in the West, primarily the US. That in itself is suspicious. They often go after the same targets as Russia; this could be because of bias within Wikileaks, or it could be because of bias among Wikileaks’ sources e.g. Russian hackers.
    Whether willingly or unwillingly, they’re being used a puppets for dissemination of damaging data against Western governments. Whilst I’m all for exposing underhand practices by government, if you’re being objective, then you’ll dig up dirt wherever dirt is to be found. Otherwise, you’re simply facilitating espionage on behalf of certain parties at the expense of others. Have a read of Wikileaks’ official Twitter feed to discover just how biased they are. Browse Wikileaks for dirt on any government allied with Russia, or the Russian government itself, and you’ll find zilch. Because those governments are squeaky clean? Or because Wikileaks (or their sources) have only very specific targets in mind?
    [Disclaimer: I’m not American, and I’m not anti-Russia – I’m just aware of the adage ‘knowledge = power’, and I don’t believe Wikileaks is wielding that power fairly]

  25. They’ve never been proven wrong. The recent leaks of the CIA show that the government could fake that they are in Russia, and probably are doing it to discredit them (even though it doesn’t make anything they’ve released false). Basically, the CIA is desperately trying to protect the highly corrupt DNC from wikileaks which is tearing the Democratic National Criminals apart.

  26. Wow, talk about an unsubstantiated article. Hilary herself isn’t denying it to be real, instead focusing the publics eyes by saying the Russians are behind it. And no link in these Claims either, wow Heavy . At least try to be a little subtle in your bias.