The Bank of America can relax, at least for now, as it appears a former WikiLeaks employee has destroyed thousands of documents submitted by various whistleblowers to the site.
other enterprises aren't the only organizations worrying about former employees
stealing or destroying data when they leave the company. A former employee for
the whistleblower site WikiLeaks said he "shredded" documents when he
left the company earlier this year.
Domscheit-Berg, a sometime spokesperson for WikiLeaks in Germany, destroyed
more than 3,500 documents when he was suspended from WikiLeaks in August 2010, German newspaper Der
reported Aug. 22 The documents were destroyed in order
to prevent their sources from being compromised, Domscheit-Berg told Der Spiegel.
The irony in
this case is that the malicious WikiLeaks insider destroyed information that
was obtained from trusted employees at various companies and government
agencies who leaked corporate secrets. WikiLeaks claimed in a statement that
Domscheit-Berg removed the data from the servers, sabotaged the online
submission system, and stole money and internal documentation when he was
suspended for violating WikiLeaks' policies. He went on to set up a rival Website, OpenLeaks
, in December, but the
site has remained largely inactive since its launch.
confirm that DDB claimed [to have] destroyed data [that] included a copy of the
entire U.S. no-fly list," WikiLeaks posted on Twitter.
claimed the document trove included internal communications of around 20
neo-Nazi organizations, United States intercept arrangements for over a hundred
Internet companies and 5 GB of data obtained from the Bank of America
, and the entire no-fly list. The
no-fly list includes the names of individuals who are banned from boarding
airplanes in the U.S. or on planes bound for the U.S.
hinted in the past it had received a damaging set of documents that would
expose a major financial institution. Observers had predicted the intended
target was the Bank of America, but the information never materialized on the
site. It now appears Domscheit-Berg took the data with him off the servers when
he left the organization.
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. Our
sources have, in some cases, risked their lives or freedom attempting to convey
these disclosures to WikiLeaks and to the public," WikiLeaks said.
denied Domscheit-Berg's claim that source identities were at risk, pointing out
that WikiLeaks' policy prevented the organization from collecting or retaining
Domscheit-Berg has repeatedly attempted to blackmail WikiLeaks by threatening
to make available to forces that oppose WikiLeaks" the "whistleblower
communications" he had in his possession if the organization charged him
with sabotage or theft, WikiLeaks said in a statement posted Aug. 21 on the
organization's blog. Domscheit-Berg "refused to return the various
materials he has stolen, saying he needs them, solely, to carry out this
threat," WikiLeaks explained.
violated WikiLeaks' policy for accessing source material and recording
encrypted "chat" conversations after he started dating and living
with an executive for Microsoft in Germany, WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange said
in a statement. After he was suspended, Domscheit-Berg convinced a German
WikiLeaks administrator, an "old associate," to obtain the keys and
data, said Assange.
Domscheit-Berg used some of the recordings in his book, "Inside
WikiLeaks" and disclosed portions of the stolen content to publications
magazine and members of
the intelligence community, even while supposedly negotiating with WikiLeaks
for their return.