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The One Where Julian Assange Can't Find the BCC Field

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, March 29 2011

An except from Daniel Domscheit-Berg's book about WikiLeaks, referenced on Cryptome today, retells the tale of the time that Wikileaks accidentally released the email addresses of its donors.

How did the nigh-legendary site make this blunder? The same way that creates gaffes in offices worldwide — while sending a mass email, Julian Assange pasted the emails into the "To:" field rather than the "BCC:" field, according the retelling of Domscheit-Berg's account posted to Cryptome. Assange, in the guise of the non-existent "Jay Lim," apologized in a follow-up email, Domscheit-Berg says, according to the excerpt on Cryptome.

The kicker: Apparently Adrian Lamo was one of the donors. The former hacker, also responsible for the arrest of Bradley Manning, who is accused of being one of WikiLeaks' sources, posted the email to WikiLeaks as an official leak. Perhaps it was a test to see how impartial WikiLeaks really was about the documents it received. In this account, too, Domscheit-Berg is quoted as saying 106 emails were released rather than the 58 enumerated in a Wired account at the time. Did Wired get it wrong? Did WikiLeaks actually redact some of the emails?

"It was interesting because we had spent some time philosophizing about what would happen if we were compelled to publish something about our own organization," Domscheit-Berg writes in Inside Wikileaks, according to the excerpt posted to Cryptome. "We agreed that we had to release things that were bad as well as good publicity. In fact, our internal leak went down well with the press. At least we were consistent and none of the donors complained."

Domscheit-Berg left WikiLeaks last year in a falling out that you could loosely attribute to "creative differences" with Assange, and is now working on a similar project.