Wikileaks Volunteer Was an FBI Informant

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Sigurdur Thordarson began volunteering for Wikileaks as a teenager in 2010. After a staff revolt struck Wikileaks its founder, Julian Assange, put Thordarson in charge of managing the website’s chat rooms. Thordarson claims that many of the chat logs and other data from Wikileaks are now in the hands of the FBI, who he passed information on Wikileaks to for $5,000 dollars. 

Thordarson’s relationship with the FBI will no doubt be considered a betrayal by Assange, who is currently still staying at Ecuador’s embassy in London.

From Wired:

On an August workday in 2011, a cherubic 18-year-old Icelandic man named Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson walked through the stately doors of the U.S. embassy in Reykjavík, his jacket pocket concealing his calling card: a crumpled photocopy of an Australian passport. The passport photo showed a man with a unruly shock of platinum blonde hair and the name Julian Paul Assange.

Thordarson was long time volunteer for WikiLeaks with direct access to Assange and a key position as an organizer in the group. With his cold war-style embassy walk-in, he became something else: the first known FBI informant inside WikiLeaks. For the next three months, Thordarson served two masters, working for the secret-spilling website and simultaneously spilling its secrets to the U.S. government in exchange, he says, for a total of about $5,000. The FBI flew him internationally four times for debriefings, including one trip to Washington D.C., and on the last meeting obtained from Thordarson eight hard drives packed with chat logs, video and other data from WikiLeaks.

It remains unclear why Thordarson decided to approach the FBI.

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  • Gordilocks||

    Only $5000? And how much is the NSA's budget?

  • thom||

    My first thought as well. This guy is a cheap date.

  • ||

    And they flew him on four international flights! Of course, from Iceland everywhere is international, but still. That should have been a value indicator right there.

  • ||

    I was looking at going to Iceland Airwaves last year and those flights are ridiculous. Sixty-nine quid from Heathrow to Reykjavik!

  • Gordilocks||

    And then it will cost you 69 quid a day just to eat there, if not more. I haven't been to Iceland since before the 08 crash, but fuck me, you would have to sell off much of your child labour force to afford travelling there.

  • MJGreen||

    Why would you ever trust a guy with a nickname like Siggi?

  • John||

    But isn't wikileaks about transparency? Shouldn't all of the logs been public anyway?

  • tarran||

    It's not.

    Wikileaks' strategy is to bring bad guys to their knees by getting them afraid to put communications in an electronic format, basically acting as a sort of paralytic poison like strychnine.

    Of course, this *is* Assange's fault; he systematically drove out all the talented people who weren't under his thumb, leaving an organization where he was the sole empowered figure. As a rule talented people don't put up with that crap, so he had to make do with less talented people or people wiht weaker personalities, or the sort of people whose ambition is so low that they will betray their mentor for $5,000.

    I must say, this is delicious karma. I love the concept of wikileaks, and hate how Assange turned it into a vehicle for self-aggrandizement.

  • John||

    Wikileaks' strategy is to bring bad guys to their knees by getting them afraid to put communications in an electronic format,

    I would believe that except that somehow Russia and other countries who would have put Assange's balls in a vice never seemed to be the subject of any leaks. Assange is a piece of shit who when it is all said and done will probably be revealed to be on the Chinese or the Russian payroll.

  • Fluffy||

    There were leaks about Russia and China.

    You're just unfamiliar with them because our media wasn't interested in them.

  • John||

    Very few. And none of them particularly damaging. Assange was always about going after the US and UK. And that is his choice. But it means that he can't really claim to be going after the "bad guys" where he found them. He never did that. He was always a fraud in that regard.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    There are bad guys and worse guys. I have no problem with him going after only the bad guys, especially since public pressure can still reign in the bad guys. The worse guys, not so much.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Were John in charge of Wikileaks it'd be, like, all "News Flash: North Korea spies on citizens!!!!!!!!111!!!!"

  • ||

    Wikileaks may have also had a less available information out of Russia and "other countries" because leakers were terrified of leaking since Putin would have put Assange's the leaker's balls in a vice?

  • Agammamon||

    And none of the leaks about the US were very damaging either.

  • tarran||

    Assange is a piece of shit who when it is all said and done will probably be revealed to be on the Chinese or the Russian payroll.

    Actually, I doubt that. He went after the UK, Australia and England because Assange is most fluent in English and doesn't know Russian, French or Chinese very well.

    Remember, Assange made all the personel decisions himself - ostensibly to prevent the organization from deviating from his vision, but in reality to prevent people checking him. And he had no system for vetting people - the guy in charge of their Russian desk for example is a Holocaust Denier.

    When Assange started wikileaks, he brought in some of the top minds in the non-governmental crypto community to put it together. They put together an awesome platform. Donations started rolling in. Then it all started going wrong. Assange ensured that he controlled the money. nobody else even had access to the books, let alone disbursement authority. The crypto guys began to suspect that Assange was in fact misusing the donations for his personal gain and not in accordance with Wikileaks' charter.

    They confronted Assange and he purged them. Those he didn't fire left in disgust. And having fired anyone who could stand up to him, he has created an organization that can't function without him. And it's paralyzed while he is besieged.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    But this^ I have a problem with.

  • A Frayed Knot||

    Bad guys like Israel Shamir and Alexander Lukashenko? Oh right.

  • Almanian!||

    It remains unclear why Thordarson decided to approach the FBI.

    Sounds like "because five thousand dollars". Fuckin' government snitch.

    And "LOL!" at what John said - goof point.

  • Almanian!||

    grrr! "good" point

  • Jerryskids||

    Wouldn't leaking this secret data constitute a violation of the terms and conditions of the website? Isn't that a crime now?

  • Jerryskids||

    Excuse me, isn't violating the terms and conditions not only fraud but CYBERTERRORISM!!!!?

  • Spoonman.||

    What was the price of thirty pieces of silver in August 2011?

  • Loki||

    There's a lot of anti-government sentiment expressed around here. IOW just the kind of people the FBI would want to keep an eye on. So I wonder which Reason employee is a snitch?

  • Brandon||

    Who says it's an employee?

  • PapayaSF||

    They don't need a snitch when they've got PRISM. It's not as if Reason has lots of secret documents and communications hidden behind the scenes.

  • johnl||

    I have been scraping and tarring up H&R and sending it to the FBI, but they haven't sent me any money yet.

  • ||

    The irony is, most libertarians are probably more patriotic than Barack Obama.

  • ||

    Personally, I see a fairly big difference between Snowden and Manning/Assange.

    Snowden's revelations seem clearly aimed at exposing unconstitutional activity by the NSA threatening to American's privacy and liberty. He's obviously not doing this because he wants foreign governments or agents to know all about PRISM. He wants AMERICANS to know about PRISM, because he believes in the Fourth Amendment.

    By comparison, Manning and Assange seem to have dumped classified US intel just out of some utopian belief in pure transparency. Now, you can hold that belief, but you can't claim that the US was violating any laws or constitutional principles, and it's hardly a revelation that the US has spies all over the world, including on our allies.

    Also, you read statements by Assange that are clearly anti-American like "look how the US empire is oppressing people" blah, blah, so it's easy to see hiw motivation as being to damage US security. But when you listen to Snowden he says things like "Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor an American can aspire to", which show that he's really motivated by oure patriotism. He's doing all this because he really believes in the principles that the US is supposed to represent. He's extremely PRO-American.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Great comment.

  • notmenorme||

    A nation devoid of any international credibility nor honour. They claim the Russians, the Chinese are "spying on us; we defend freedom and fight for justice", yet these hypocrites, gun down innocent journalists (Iraq), and coarse and hunt those who expose their hideous deeds ( Maning and Julian Assange). When Snowden shows that they are spying on all of us, their hypocritical representative, Obama, asks that other nations respect, "international law"?
    A country which believes that it is above the laws governing countries, the International Court of Justice ( The USA, withdrew from the ICJ, in 2005, not accepting compulsory jurisdiction): This means that the USA, can go into any country, commit the most hideous of international crimes and no one "US citizen" can be prosecuted against crimes against humanity by the International Court: What an arrogant people, who talk the talk about rights, democracy and freedom for everyone (guardians of the free world) but do not walk the walk, when it comes to acknowledging reality.
    The only way forward is for us to encourage and protect whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden, Bradley Edward Manning and Julian Assange: Please help support such an effort by going to the link below or Google,"Julian Assange, freedom of the press, Avaaz".

    www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Juli.....the_Press/

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