One of the early members and co-founders of the tight-knit, secretive WikiLeaks operation charged today that the website and its co-founder, Julian Assange, sold intelligence information the site had obtained.
John Young, whose name was listed as the public face of WikiLeaks in the site’s original domain registration, also alleged that the website is a lucrative business.
Young said he left the site in 2007 due to concerns over its finances and that WikiLeaks was engaged in the selling of documents.
Young was speaking today to WND senior reporter Aaron Klein on Klein’s radio program on New York’s WABC Radio.
“I think it is a money-making operation, no doubt,” Young said of WikiLeaks.
“It follows the model of a number of other business intelligence operations. Selling intelligence information is a very lucrative field, and so they are following that model, usually cloaked in some kind of public benefit,” he told Klein.
“But they are far from being the only one that does that,” Young added. “It’s a well-known business model.
Asked specifically whether he was charging WikiLeaks with selling classified information and documents, Young replied, “Yes.”
Klein then asked, “When you were at WikiLeaks initially, was your impression they were trying to sell information?”
Young responded, “Well, it only came up in the topic of raising $5 million the first year. That was the first red flag that I heard about. I thought that they were actually a public interest group up until then, but as soon as I heard that, I know that they were a criminal organization.”
Audio of the interview can be heard below:
Young said he doubted the validity of rumors the Open Society Institute, funded by philanthropist George Soros, was previously in talks with WikiLeaks about a possible donation.
“I assume that that was just a tease, a fundraising tease that Julian is known to use,” he said. “He’s a bragger and talks about these possibilities as though they are in the works, but I don’t think there is much to it.”
Young stated Assange was a “narcissistic personality. He craves attention and he’ll do about anything to get it.”
Young claimed the main goal of WikiLeaks was to exaggerate their own importance and that Assange wasn’t really anti-American.
Assange’s seemingly anti-U.S. intentions were “just a crowd pleaser,” said Young.
“That’s a very popular one around the world,” he said. “And so he’s picking easy targets again for publicity purposes for maximum exposure. The effect of this, though, remains to be seen.”
Continued Young: “There are lots of other things that WikiLeaks is ignoring in favor of this high profile material they are putting out now. They pretty much abandoned putting out useful material to release bombshells and picking easy targets. Banks are an easy target. The U.S. is an easy target. So these are no-brainer targets.”
Young is a 74-year-old Manhattan-based architect who publishes a document-leaking website of his own called Cryptome.org that predates Wikileaks by over a decade. Cryptome famously posted online a review of security measures at the Democratic National Convention, it released documents that disclosed the names of alleged U.K. spies and it also published leaked internal documents about police requests inside Microsoft.
Young says it was his work with Cryptome that led WikiLeaks to recruit him early on to be the public face of registering their website, even listing his name on WikiLeak’s original domain-name registration.
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