Timeline of WikiLeaks
|Time period||Development summary|
|1990s|| Julian Assange starts hacking systems and is punished with the first cybercrime charges. By the end of the decade, Assange registers |
|2010s||Massive information leaks happen at the beginning of the decade, as well as the Bradley Manning case. The organization receives many awards in the 2010s. However, condemnation rises in several countries. In 2016, WikiLeaks intervention disrupts the 2016 United States elections and more precisely the Democrats political campaign. WikiLeaks publishes the biggest ever leak of CIA documents, revealing the agency’s hacking and surveillance techniques.|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details|
|1971||Prelude||United States military analyst Daniel Ellsberg releases the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of the U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers. This study would be Julian Assange inspiration for WikiLeaks.|
|1971||July 3||Prelude||Julian Assange is born in the province of Queensland, Australia.|
|1990s||Prelude||Julian Assange and other hackers gain control over MILNET for two years with the use of a back door, gaining full access to the Pentagon Security Coordination Center. The IT rebels are also able to use their computers to interfere with the authorities who are investigating them.|
|1991||Prelude||Assange, now a noted computer hacker, pleads guilty to a host of cybercrime charges, but because of his youth he receives only minimal punishment.|
|c.1993||Prelude||Assange cumulates 31 counts of computer hacking and related crimes, eventually pleading guilty and paying a minimal fine.|
|1999||Launch|| Assange registers |
|2006||Launch|| Assange starts using |
|2006||December||Launch|| Sunshine Press launches the |
|2006||December 26||Release|| The first posting on |
|2007||Launch||Assange announces the formal launch of WikiLeaks.|
|2007||Partnership||Assange initiates a relationship with British daily newspaper The Guardian, which reportedly receives regular emails from WikiLeaks “editor-in-chief” Assange, sometimes with a "good story to tell".|
|2007||August 31||Partnership||WikiLeaks and The Guardian work in tandem for the first time, with WikiLeaks posting the full text off, and the Guardian running a story on, a report by the private investigations firm Kroll about the alleged corruption of former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi.|
|2007||November||Release||WikiLeaks posts the standard operating procedures for the U.S. Guantanamo Bay detention camp.|
|2007||December||Release||WikiLeaks posts the United States Army manual for soldiers dealing with prisoners at Camp Delta, a permanent American detainment camp at Guantanamo Bay.|
|2007||Team||German activist Daniel Domscheit-Berg begins working with WikiLeaks after meeting Assange at the Chaos Computer Club's annual conference (24C3).|
|2008||March||Release||WikiLeaks publishes internal material from the Church of Scientology. This would lead to the group threatening suit on the grounds of copyright infringement.|
|2008||April||Recognition||Wikileaks is awarded The Economist's New Media Award at the Index on Censorship Awards.|
|2008||September||Release||WikiLeaks posts emails from the Yahoo email account of US politician Sarah Palin.|
|2008||November||Release||WikiLeaks posts a list of names and addresses of people it claims belong to British National Party, a far-right, fascist political party in the United Kingdom.|
|2008||Recognition||WikiLeaks receives The Economist New Media Award.|
|2009||March 16||Censorship||The Australian Communications and Media Authority adds WikiLeaks to their proposed list of sites that will be blocked for all Australians if the mandatory internet filtering scheme is implemented as planned. The blacklisting would be removed by 29 November 2010.|
|2009||April 9||Censorship|| Germany deletes |
|2009||June||Recognition||Wikileaks is awarded the Amnesty International's UK Media Award.|
|2009||September 14||Release||WikiLeaks publishes the "Minton report", a study commissioned by Trafigura to determine the toxicity of the waste dumped in Abidjan during the 2006 Ivory Coast toxic waste dump.|
|2009||November||Release||WikiLeaks posts more than half a million pager messages sent within a 24-hour period around the September 11 attacks. Revealing messages include exchanges from "The Pentagon, FBI, FEMA and New York Police Department" officials. WikiLeaks states about the release: "We hope that its entrance into the historical record will lead to a nuanced understanding of how this event led to death, opportunism and war."|
|2009||Recognition||WikiLeaks is awarded The Amnesty New Media Award.|
|2010||February||Funding||WikiLeaks announces it has been given the US$200,000 in donations it needs to continue work.|
|2010||April 5||Release||WikiLeaks posts a classified military video showing a Boeing AH-64 Apache firing on and killing two journalists and a number of Iraqi civilians in 2007. The military claims that the helicopter crew believed the targets were armed insurgents, not civilians.|
|2010||May||Legal||The first formal charges are filed when low-level U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning is arrested in connection with the release of the 2007 helicopter video.|
|2010||May 19||Recognition||The New York Daily News lists WikiLeaks first among websites "that could totally change the news".|
|2010||May 26||Legal||The United States Armed Forces detains Bradley Manning on charges of illegally downloading hundreds of thousands of classified US documents, including the US helicopter gunship attack posted on WikiLeaks, and classified State Department records. Manning is turned in by threat analyst Adrian Lamo, who Manning confided in about leaking the classified records.|
|2010||July 6||Legal||The United States Armed Forces announce having charged Bradley Manning with violating army regulations by transferring classified information to a personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system and of violating federal laws of governing the handling of classified information.|
|2010||July 17||Support||American independent journalist Jacob Appelbaum speaks on behalf of WikiLeaks at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference in New York City, replacing Assange because of the presence of federal agents at the conference. He announces that the WikiLeaks submission system is again operating, after it has been suspended temporarily.|
|2010||July 25||Release||WikiLeaks posts more than 90,000 classified documents relating to the War in Afghanistan. This would be called the biggest leak since the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. The documents are divided into more than 100 categories and touch on everything from the hunt for Osama bin Laden to Afghan civilian deaths resulting from US military actions."|
|2010||July||Support||Veterans for Peace president Mike Ferner writes on the group's website "neither Wikileaks nor the soldier or soldiers who divulged the documents should be prosecuted for revealing this information. We should give them a medal."|
|2010||August||Team||WikiLeaks decides to move their headquarters to Uppsala and begins to mainly be hosted by the Swedish internet service provider Bahnhof, where there are now a couple WikiLeaks servers in the Pionen facility.|
|2010||August 18||Censorship||The Thai Government blocks access to WikiLeaks website in its country.|
|2010||August||Support||Documentary filmmaker John Pilger writes an editorial in the Australian publication Green Left titled "Wikileaks must be defended." In it, Pilger says WikiLeaks represents the interests of "public accountability" and a new form of journalism at odds with "the dominant section ... devoted merely to taking down what cynical and malign power tells it."|
|2010||August||Security||Some portion of Wikileaks' servers are moved to a data center in Pionen, a former civil defence center located 30 meters below ground inside a Cold-War-era nuclear bunker carved out of a large rock hill in downtown Stockholm.|
|2010||October 22||Release||WikiLeaks publishes nearly 400,000 classified military documents from the Iraq War, providing new figures of deceased Iraqi civilians, as well as the role that Iran has played in supporting Iraqi militants and many accounts of abuse by Iraq's army and police. "So, WikiLeaks published the Iraq War Logs on October 22nd of 2010. In so doing, it became the biggest leak in the military history of America up to that point, far surpassing the Afghan War Diary of July 25th from that same year."|
|2010||October 23||Recognition||WikiLeaks and Assange are awarded the 2010 Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence award for releasing secret U.S. military reports on the Iraq and Afghan wars.|
|2010||November 28||Release||WikiLeaks begins publishing approximately 250,000 diplomatic cables from the United States Department of State dating back to 1966. The site says the documents will be released "in stages over the next few months."|
|2010||November 28||Reaction|| |
|2010||November 29||Support||Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez states his support for WikiLeaks following the release of US diplomatic cables in November 2010 showing the United States attempts to rally support from regional governments to isolate Venezuela.|
|2010||November||Release||WikiLeaks releases selections from a list of some 250,000 classified diplomatic cables between the United States Department of State and its embassies and consulates around the world. These secret documents contain U.S. efforts to politically and economically isolate Iran, primarily in response to fears of Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.|
|2010||November||Public opinion||According to a telephone survey of 1,004 German residents age 18 and older, a majority of 53% disapprove of WikiLeaks, while 43% are generally in favour of the platform. Asked about the specific release of US diplomatic cables, almost two Thirds (65%) believe that these documents should not be published, compared to 31% that agree that they are being released to the public.|
|2010||November||Team||The WikiLeaks-endorsed news and activism site WikiLeaks Central is initiated and administrated by editor Heather Marsh.|
|2010||November 30||Censorship||China blocks Internet access to WikiLeaks' release of more than 250,000 leaked cables from the United States Department of State, with its Foreign Ministry saying that it does not wish to see any disturbance in China–United States relations.|
|2010||December 1||Reaction||Amazon.com removes WikiLeaks from its servers after political pressure.|
|2010||December 2||Reaction||Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard makes a statement that she 'absolutely condemns' WikiLeaks' actions and that the release of information on the site is 'grossly irresponsible' and 'illegal.'|
|2010||December 2||Reaction|| EveryDNS.net drops |
|2010||December 3||Reaction||The Obama administration bans hundreds of thousands of federal employees from calling up the WikiLeaks site on government computers because the leaked material is still formally regarded as classified. The White House Office of Management and Budget sends a memorandum forbidding all unauthorized federal government employees and contractors from accessing classified documents publicly available on WikiLeaks and other websites.|
|2010||December 9||Support||United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression Frank LaRue states he agrees with the idea that Julian Assange is a "martyr for free speech." LaRue goes on to say Assange or other WikiLeaks staff should not face legal accountability for any information they disseminated, noting that, "if there is a responsibility by leaking information it is of, exclusively of the person that made the leak and not of the media that publish it. And this is the way that transparency works and that corruption has been confronted in many cases." High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, subsequently voices concern at the revelation that private companies are being pressured by states to sever their relationships with WikiLeaks.|
|2010||December 15||Reaction||Philipino President Benigno Aquino III condemns WikiLeaks and leaks documents related to the country, saying that it can lead to massive cases of miscommunication.|
|2010||December 21||Reaction||Media reports that Apple Inc. has removed an application from its App Store, which provided access to the embassy cable leaks.|
|2010||December||Support||Noam Chomsky offers his support to protesters across Australia planning to take to the streets in defence of WikiLeaks. In an interview for Democracy Now!, Chomsky criticizes the government response, saying, "perhaps the most dramatic revelation ... is the bitter hatred of democracy that is revealed both by the U.S. Government – Hillary Clinton, others – and also by the diplomatic service."|
|2010||December||Spin-off||Daniel Domscheit-Berg announces the intention to start a site named "OpenLeaks".|
|2010||December||Legal||The British police arrests Assange on an outstanding Swedish warrant for alleged sex crimes.|
|2010||December||Reaction||PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard suspend online payment processing for donations to WikiLeaks.|
|2010||December||Recognition||Assange is named "Person of the Year" by Time Magazine.|
|2010||December||Recognition||The office of the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev issues a statement calling on non-governmental organisations to consider "nominating Julian Assange as a Nobel Prize laureate." The announcement follows commentary by Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin who stated that Julian Assange's earlier arrest on Swedish charges demonstrated that there was "no media freedom" in the west.|
|2010||December||Public opinion||A research poll shows that the majority of Australians are against the official government position on WikiLeaks. The findings were done on 1,000 individuals, showing 59% support WikiLeaks' action in making the cables public and 25% oppose it.|
|2010||December||Public opinion||According to a telephone survey of 1,029 US residents age 18 and older, conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, 70% of American respondents – particularly Republicans and older people – think the leaks are doing more harm than good by allowing enemies of the United States government to see confidential and secret information about U.S. foreign policy. Approximately 22% – especially young liberals – think the leaks are doing more good than harm by making the U.S. government more transparent and accountable. A majority of 59% also want to see the people behind WikiLeaks prosecuted, while 31% said the publication of secrets is protected under the First Amendment guarantee of a free press.|
|2010||December|| Wikileaks website, |
|2010||Recognition||WikiLeaks is awarded The Sam Adams Award for Integrity.|
|2011||January||Reaction||Libyan politician Muammar Gaddafi blames WikiLeaks for the Tunisian revolution stating "[Do not be fooled by] WikiLeaks which publishes information written by lying ambassadors in order to create chaos."|
|2011||January||Spin-off||RuLeaks launches as a Russian version of WikiLeaks. The website begins translating and mirroring publications by the original WikiLeaks, but it would quickly switch to original content.|
|2011||April||Release||WikiLeaks begins publishing more secret files from the military facilities at Guantanamo Bay, containing detailed information about the majority of prisoners detained at the detention camp from 2002 to 2008, including photographs, health records, and assessments of the potential threat posed by each prisoner. The files also indicates that dozens of detainees have passed through radicalized British mosques prior to their departure for Afghanistan and, ultimately, their capture by United States forces.|
|2011||April 25||Release||Guantanamo Bay files leak. WikiLeaks obtains nearly 800 classified US military documents revealing details about the alleged terrorist activities of Al Qaeda operatives captured and housed in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.|
|2011||June||Recognition||Assange is awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.|
|2011||July 14||Reaction||WikiLeaks and DataCell ehf. of Iceland file a complaint against the international card companies, VISA Europe and MasterCard Europe, for infringement of the antitrust rules of the EU, in response to their withdrawal of financial services to the organization. In a joint press release, the organizations state: "The closure by VISA Europe and MasterCard of Datcell's access to the payment card networks in order to stop donations to WikiLeaks violates the competition rules of the European Community." DataCell files a complaint with the European Commission on 14 July 2011.|
|2011||August||Spin-off||Leakymails launches in Argentina as a project designed to obtain and publish relevant documents exposing corruption of the political class and the powerful in the country.|
|2011||September 2||Release||Assange releases its archive containing more than 250,000 unredacted US diplomatic cables.|
|2011||October 24||WikiLeaks announces a temporary halt in publication in order to focus its efforts on fund-raising. Assange states that a financial blockade by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union has cut off 95% of WikiLeaks' revenue.|
|2011||December 1||Release||Wikileaks releases more than 287 files exposing 160 intelligence contracting companies in 25 countries that "develop technologies to allow the tracking and monitoring of individuals by their mobile phones, email accounts and Internet browsing histories".|
|2011||December||Spin-off||WikiLeaks launches Friends of WikiLeaks, a social network for supporters and founders of the website.|
|2011||Recognition||Icelandic investigative journalist and WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson is awarded The National Union of Journalists Journalist of the Year.|
|2011||Recognition||WikiLeaks is awarded The Sydney Peace Foundation Gold Medal, the Blanquerna Award for Best Communicator, the Walkley Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism, the Voltaire Award for Free Speech, the International Piero Passetti Journalism Prize of the National Union of Italian Journalists, and the Jose Couso Press Freedom Award.|
|2012||January||Spin-off||Honest Appalachia initiates as a website based in the United States intended to appeal to potential "whistleblowers" in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina, and serve as a replicable model for similar projects elsewhere.|
|2012||February 23||Legal||Bradley Manning is formally charged with aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, transmitting national defense information and theft of public property or records.|
|2012||February||Release||WikiLeaks publishes secret emails from American geopolitical intelligence platform Stratfor that shows US authorities have drawn up secret charges against Assange.|
|2012||March 8||Team||Heather Marsh resigns from WikiLeaks.|
|2012||July 5||Release||WikiLeaks begins publishing more than 2.4 million emails from Syrian politicians, government ministries and companies.|
|2012||June||Legal||Assange applies for asylum in Ecuador and seeks refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador, London, after his extradition appeal was denied and with a Swedish arrest warrant pending. "According to a New York Times article, Assange came to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in June 2012, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden. "|
|2012||Recognition||WikiLeaks is awarded The Privacy International Hero of Privacy.|
|2013||February 4||Recognition||Assange is awarded in New York with the Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts.|
|2013||February 28||Legal||Bradley Manning pleads guilty to some of the 22 charges against him, except the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, which carries a life sentence.|
|2013||April||Recognition||WikiLeaks is awarded the Global Exchange Human Rights People’s Choice Award.|
|2013||July||Political campaign||Assange launches the WikiLeaks Party in Australia and announces his candidacy for a seat in the Australian Senate.|
|2013||August||Legal||Though being acquitted of aiding the enemy Bradley Manning is sentenced by military judge to 35 years in prison.|
|2013||September 9||Spin-off||A number of major Dutch media outlets support the launch of Publeaks, which provides a secure website for people to leak documents to the media using the GlobaLeaks whistleblowing software.|
|2013||September 20||Recognition||Assange is awarded the Brazillian Press Association Human Rights Award.|
|2014||April||Release||Sony Pictures becomes the target of a massive data breach, and a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace soon begin releasing sensitive company information in small batches. The hack is eventually attributed to North Korea. The following April, WikiLeaks published more than 200,000 of the stolen documents in a searchable database, a move that was immediately criticized by Sony."|
|2014||June||Recognition||Assange is awarded the Kazakstan Union of Journalists Top Prize.|
|2015||January 26||WikiLeaks' lawyers address Google and the United States Department of Justice concerning a serious violation of the privacy and journalistic rights of WikiLeaks' staff, after investigations editor Sarah Harrison, Section Editor Joseph Farrell and senior journalist and spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson received notice that Google has handed over all their emails and metadata to the United States government on the back of alleged 'conspiracy' and 'espionage' warrants.|
|2015||June 19||Release||WikiLeaks publishes 500,000 cables and Foreign Ministry documents from the Saudi Government.|
|2015||October||Recognition||WikiLeaks section editor Sarah Harrison is awarded the Willy Brandt Award for Political Courage.|
|2015||November 16||Release||WikiLeaks publishes the "Final Texts" of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.|
|2016||March||Release||WikiLeaks unveils a searchable archive containing 30,000 e-mail messages and attachments retrieved from a private server maintained by Hillary Clinton during her tenure as United States Secretary of State (2009–13). The collection is made public by the State Department through the Freedom of Information Act.|
|2016||May 25||Release||WikiLeaks publishes documents from the Trade in Services Agreement trade deal.|
|2016||July 20||Censorship||The Turkish government blocks access to Wikileaks after it releases nearly 300,000 emails involving the ruling Justice and Development Party. The email releases are in response to the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt.|
|2016||July 22||Release||An amount of nearly 20,000 emails from Democratic National Committee staffers is released by WikiLeaks. The emails appear to show the committee favoring Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the United States presidential primary.|
|2016||July||Release||WikiLeaks publishes more than 60,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mail messages and documents, days before the Democratic Party officially nominates Clinton as its candidate in the US Presidential Election 2016.|
|2016||October 7||Release||WikiLeaks publishes the Podesta emails, a collection of 58,660 emails from Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta.|
|2016||October 11||Authenticity||Writer Glenn Greenwald asserts that WikiLeaks has a "perfect, long-standing record of only publishing authentic documents."|
|2016||October 13||Authenticity||Columnist Eric Zorn writes "So far, it's possible, even likely, that every stolen email WikiLeaks has posted has been authentic." but cautions against assuming that future releases would be equally authentic.|
|2016||October 16||Wikileaks tweets a series of three unusually cryptic, confusing messages, each containing a 64-character code. The posts are followed by rumors questioning whether Assange is dead or alive, with some people believing Assange was killed or is currently in grave danger, and that a dead man’s switch was activated.|
|2016||November 25||Release||WikiLeaks publishes the Yemen Files, a collection of more than 500 documents from the United States Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, which offer documentary evidence of the arming, training and funding of Yemeni forces by the United States in the years building up to the Yemeni civil war.|
|2016||December 1||Release||WikiLeaks publishes the German BND-NSA Inquiry Exhibits, an amount of 90 gygabites of information relating to the BND-NSA Inquiry.|
|2017||January 3||Assange announces in interview that Russia did not give WikiLeaks hacked emails.|
|2017||January 12||WikiLeaks tweets that Assange will agree to be extradited to the United States if Obama grants clemency to Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning).|
|2017||January 17||Legal||United States President Barack Obama commutes the sentence of Chelsea Manning, setting the stage for her to be released on May 17.|
|2017||January||The WikiLeaks Task Force, a Twitter account associated with WikiLeaks, proposes the creation of a database to track verified Twitter users, including sensitive personal information on individuals' homes, families and finances. The Chicago Tribune would describe the proposal as facing a "sharp and swift backlash as technologists, journalists and security researchers slammed the idea as a 'sinister' and dangerous abuse of power and privacy." Twitter furthermore bans the use of Twitter data for "surveillance purposes," stating "Posting another person's private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter rules."|
|2017||February 16||Release||WikiLeaks publishes CIA espionage orders for the 2012 French presidential election. Assange claims he has damaging information on the leading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron having a homosexual affair.|
|2017||March 7||Release||WikiLeaks publishes thousands of internal CIA documents (known as Vault 7), including alleged discussions of a covert hacking program and the development of spy software targeting cellphones, smart TVs and computer systems in cars. Assange states that the website published the documents as a warning about the risk of the proliferation of "cyber weapons". However, the documents are not independently authenticated.|
|2017||April||Reaction||In a speech addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CIA Director Mike Pompeo refers to WikiLeaks as "a non-state hostile intelligence service" and described founder Julian Assange as a narcissist, fraud, and coward.|
|2017||May 3||Reaction||FBI Director James Comey refers to WikiLeaks as "intelligence porn" during a Senate hearing, and declares that the site's disclosures are intended to damage the United States rather than educate the public.|
|2017||May 17||Legal||Chelsea Manning is released from prison.|
|2017||October||CNN reports that in 2016 a Cambridge Analytica executive approached WikiLeaks requesting access to emails from Hillary Clinton. Assange confirms the exchange in a tweet.|
|2018||September 28||Release||WikiLeaks publishes a secret document concerning a dispute over a £3.6 billion Middle Eastern arms deal.|
|2018||October 11||Release||WikiLeaks publishes a "Highly Confidential" internal document from the cloud computing provider Amazon which lists the addresses of over 100 data centers in nine countries including China, Singapore and Japan.|
|2019||January||WikiLeaks sends a 5,000-word email to journalists listing 140 things they should not say about Assange, from asserting that he has been an agent of any intelligence service to that he has ever bleached his hair.|
|2019||April||Legal||Assange asylum is rescinded, and he is indicted in the United States for violating the Espionage Act.|
|2019||April||Recognition||Assange is awarded the Galizia Prize for Journalists, Whistleblowers & Defenders of the Right to Information.|
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