How pioneering #WikiLeaks collaboration ended in distrust and legal threats | Ian Katz | Media | The Guardian
Communication with Julian Assange himself was an even more cloak and dagger affair. After Swedish prosecutors sought an arrest warrant for him, he was reachable only via encrypted chat – and typically only late at night or in the small hours of the morning. These exchanges took on a Jason Bourne-ish quality: once he upbraided the Guardian for releasing too much data about the cables because he had been acquiring “good intel” as American diplomats went around the world, apologising for every slight they feared might be in the cache. (He was right: it turns out the US warned Downing Street about several infelicitous cables that WikiLeaks never had.)
Another time Assange announced, apropos of nothing in particular, that his lawyers were “being constantly surveilled (human)”. When a number of cables popped up on a Lebanese newspaper website, he had several theories involving foreign intelligence agencies, although the newspaper partners thought it more likely that WikiLeaks had sprung a leak.
Despite the slight air of paranoia, Assange came across as ferociously intelligent, with a control freak’s mastery of detail and an infectious enthusiasm for his information insurgency. Sometimes he would interrupt a conversation to rhapsodise about a particular cable. At times he had the detached air of a chess grandmaster playing a dozen games at once – later I found out that’s because he was usually conducting numerous different chats simultaneously.