Wikileaks has confirmed that thousands of leaked files have been destroyed by the group’s former German spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
This time last year, Wikileaks suspended Domscheit-Berg, and ever since has been trying to persuade him to return the material, which includes over 3,500 files.
These, says Wikileaks, include more than 60,000 emails from the NPD, US intercept arrangements for over a hundred internet companies, the internals of around 20 neo-Nazi organizations, 5GB of data from the Bank of America and the entire US no-fly list.
The material also includes internal Wikileaks communications which, says founder Julian Assange, Domscheit-Berg has been threatening to make public.
Assange says he’s been pleading with Domscheit-Berg for the material’s return, but has now had confirmation that it’s been destroyed.
“The material is irreplaceable and includes substantial information on many issues of public importance, human rights abuses, mass telecommunications interception, banking and the planning of dozens of neo-Nazi groups,” says Assange in a statement.
“Our sources have in some cases risked their lives or freedom attempting to convey these disclosures to WikiLeaks and to the public.”
But, he says, “As a matter of policy and implementation WikiLeaks does not collect or retain source identifying information, so fortunately, source identities for this material are not significantly at risk.”
When Domscheit-Berg quit the organization, he also took with him the entire Wikileaks encrypted submission system, which he used to start a rival site, OpenLeaks.
Domscheit-Berg and his colleages said they were unhappy with Assange’s autocratic management style and irresponsibility.
But Assange hints that Domscheit-Berg may have had a darker motive.
“I have received a warning from a current Western intelligence officer that DDB has been in contact with the FBI, on more than one occasion, and that the information from this contact was ‘helpful’,” he says. “I do not know if DDB was complicit with the reported contact.”