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The Media Crime Government United States Your Rights Online

FBI Paid Informant Inside WikiLeaks 458

Posted by timothy
from the anything-to-keep-the-nsa-off-your-mind dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt 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 Reykjavik, 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."
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FBI Paid Informant Inside WikiLeaks

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  • Re:Cheap (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 28, 2013 @07:09PM (#44138831)

    Cheap doesn't do it justice. Laughable is more like it. I was expecting at least 2 orders of magnitude above that.

  • Re:Cheap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday June 28, 2013 @07:12PM (#44138859) Journal
    What work and risk? What is the risk he is taking?
  • Profit? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 28, 2013 @07:39PM (#44139019)

    1. Spell Reykjavik with Unicode U+00ED (LATIN SMALL LETTER I WITH ACUTE)
    2. Send to Slashdot as UTF-8: C3 AD
    3. ?
    4. Slashdot receives ISO-8859-1: C3 AD
    5. Slashdot prints U+00C3 (LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH TILDE) and discards AD

  • by Kreplock (1088483) on Friday June 28, 2013 @07:50PM (#44139055)
    Assange's narcissism facilitated this - the kid got put to work after the Wikileaks schism, and there surely was not enough manpower to properly vet the new guys. Longest lasting fallout is probably talent that would otherwise have gotten involved now have to wonder whether they are talking to just Wikileaks, or Wikileaks and the FBI/NSA/CIA.
  • Sounds fair (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evilviper (135110) on Friday June 28, 2013 @07:59PM (#44139107) Journal

    Wikileaks was only too happy to reveal internal documents of private organizations the world over, of no prohibitive value to the public, just damaging the companies involved. So they should be HAPPY about the same being done to them, and for the same reasons they did it. After all, if they weren't doing anything illegal, then there's no harm in the FBI having copies of their internal documents, right? Right?

    I admit, going through the FBI is a rather roundabout way to get that info to the public, but it should work out in the long-term.

  • jurisiction issues? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hurwak-feg (2955853) on Friday June 28, 2013 @08:06PM (#44139143)
    If the FBI was flying him internationally, aren't they going a bit out of there reach? I thought the FBI was (should anyway) only concerned with things happening on US soil. Am I wrong?
  • Re:Cheap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by niftydude (1745144) on Friday June 28, 2013 @08:06PM (#44139145)
    Cheap? Think of all the other news organisations the FBI need to keep informants in, so that no investigative journalism embarrassing to politicians can get done. Even at $5000 a pop, it gets expensive fast.

    On another topic, can anyone who understands the US TLA agencies explain why the FBI was doing this, rather than the CIA? I would have though that using someone from Iceland to investigate an Australian working in Europe would have been considered an international, rather than domestic matter. I'm interested how spending money on an international situation like this falls under the FBI's charter?
  • Re:Cheap (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 28, 2013 @08:08PM (#44139159)

    $5,000? Seems like quite a bit of work and risk for just $5,000.

    Risk?

    BWAAAA HAAA HAAA!!!!

    From a bunch of candy-assed metrosexual pussies who only publish the secrets of countries that won't kill them?

    If Assange et al had and REAL balls they'd publish secrets from Russia or China.

    Of course, then they'd be fucking dead.

  • Re:Cheap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bonehead (6382) on Friday June 28, 2013 @08:40PM (#44139347)

    Legally speaking, that's a very, VERY good question. And one that I'm sure will never get answered.

    Dealing with a foreign national, on foreign soil, is quite clearly a CIA matter and not what the FBI is supposed to be doing.

    The are probably a couple dozen US citizens (myself being one) who understand this, and would REALLY like to know what happened to these promises of "oversight" that we've been given, the sad truth is that most are more worried about upgrading their 55" TV to a 65" model, and just plain don't give a shit.

    Hell, I'm pretty much there myself. This is NOT the country that my grandfather went to war for in WWII. But at 42 years old, I've seen enough to realize that I'm powerless to change anything. My best bet is to just try to make the next 50 years as pleasant as possible for myself and my family.

    But change anything? Nah, that's not realistic. The only power I have in that regard is one vote in opposition of the millions of morons here who vote the wrong way.

  • Re:Cheap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday June 28, 2013 @08:47PM (#44139385)

    Before he got recruited, he was a long time volunteer of Wikileaks which means he was probably in trouble with the law.

    Not in Iceland where he lived - they lurv wikileaks there.

    Since then he's got himself in trouble with the law in Iceland for stealing computer equipment from a retailer via fraud and for embezzlement by setting up a fraudulent webstore selling wikileaks branded t-shirts.

  • Re:Cheap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Entropy98 (1340659) on Friday June 28, 2013 @08:52PM (#44139411) Homepage

    Loss of reputation.

    How is that even possible for somebody that nobody has ever even heard of in the first place? You can't lose a reputation until you have one.

    Mr. Thordarson, your resume is very impressive. All we have left to do is google your name and you're hired! Hmm.. seems you sold out your last employer to the US Government... Yeah, we'll let you know..

  • Re:Cheap (Score:-1, Interesting)

    by noh8rz9 (2716595) on Friday June 28, 2013 @09:28PM (#44139601)
    how did I, as an american, benefit from assange's actions against my country? srsly, what ill deeds did he expose that justified him releasing so much else classified and damaging?
  • Re: Cheap (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Howell (2861885) on Friday June 28, 2013 @09:34PM (#44139639)
    He is not a US citizen, and at no point did he betry Australia 8)
  • by amiga3D (567632) on Friday June 28, 2013 @09:40PM (#44139657)

    My 88 year old Dad, who is so conservative he considers Sean Hannity a liberal, thinks that Snowden is a hero. I was kind of surprised but really a lot of people don't like being spied on and that's from both ends of the political spectrum.

  • Some more (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday June 28, 2013 @11:26PM (#44140175) Homepage Journal

    Here's some trends I've noticed. Every time some politically-charged issue springs up, certain predictable actions seem to bog down debate:

    1) Pointing out typos in the article summary or parent poster

    Especially when the respondent makes their own typos while picking apart the OP. The flurry of people jumping on board to correct this can be enormous, and push valuable discussion down below the screen, where it has little chance of being seen.

    2) Revising someone's analogy

    Someone makes an analogy, so someone *else* has to make a better one. If the revised analogy is flawed, again the flurry of people jumping on board to correct this can be enormous and push valuable discussion down the page.

    (Maybe when someone makes a bad analogy we should just say "no, it's not like that" and let it go?)

    2) Saying it's our fault

    I really hate this one. Invariably, someone will come along and say "it's our own fault because we voted for these people". This completely exonerates the politicians involved and makes everyone feel a little bit guilty - and at the same time it defuses calls for action, suggestions for improvement, and the like. "The best way is to use the power of the vote", setting aside that a) much of the time it's an unelected bureaucrat, b) the vote has been hijacked by special interests, and c) even if it were true, we should also be discussion other possible options.

  • Re:Cheap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dbIII (701233) on Friday June 28, 2013 @11:44PM (#44140233)
    Among other things they exposed why Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted in a position of responsibility (orders to steal credit card details from diplomats). That alone is of benefit to the USA.
  • Re:"Ego trip" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday June 29, 2013 @08:27AM (#44141673) Homepage Journal

    It is almost as if average people have mediocre opinions.

    If this was a "mediocre" opinion, I'd agree. But see, here's the thing: people don't talk the same.

    The only thing in the world that I'm good at - truly gifted - the thing that I've been trained to do and have spent the past 20-plus years teaching, the thing that I've written about and published in 5 languages, is analyzing texts. A common voice stands out to me like a cluster of bad pixels.

    I couldn't compile a kernel to save my soul, but motherfucker, I have an ear for voice in written language.

    Every time anything is posted on the internet, anonymous people say bad things about it using simple language.

    Ah, but this isn't "saying bad things" about something "posted on the internet". It is agreement and embellishment of the story. The media says, "Oh, that (Snowden/Assange) is a jerk" and suddenly there's a chorus of "Yeah, what a jerk!" from this crowd. It's like going to a hockey game and all of a sudden everybody starts singing different lyrics, spontaneously.

    ...new to internet...small words...

    But thank you for using small words as you mansplained the facts of internet life to me. It's the thought that counts.

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