An Australian man who is editor of whistleblower Internet site WikiLeaks has demanded the US and Iceland explain why US officials appeared to tail him this week.
Julian Assange says he believes he was followed by two State Department or Central Intelligence Agency men who boarded his 2.15pm flight out of Reykjavik to Copenhagen on Thursday. A volunteer who works on the site was later detained and reportedly interrogated about Assange’s activities.
Assange was on his way to speak at an investigative journalism conference in Norway.
US Army spokesman Gary Tallman confirmed to AFP that the Department of Defence had compiled a report on WikiLeaks, after concerns were raised that the website posed a security threat to troops.
WikiLeaks, whose slogan is ‘We open governments’, had posted 2,000 pages of documents including details of military equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan from April 2007, which Tallman said described “nearly the entire order of battle.”
However, Tallman added that the information in the report had become outdated.
According to Assange, US sources told Icelandic state media that the US State Department was aggressively investigating a leak from the US Embassy in Reykjavik.
“On Monday 22, March, at approximately 8.30pm, a WikiLeaks volunteer was detained by Icelandic police for approximately 21 hours,” Assange said in an email.
The next day, during the course of interrogation, the volunteer was shown covert photos of Assange outside a Reykjavik restaurant, Assange said.
A production meeting for a video WikiLeaks was working on – allegedly documenting civilian kills by US pilots – had been held in the back room of that restaurant that week.
To read the full text of Julian Assange’s email explanation click here.