Number of classified documents from the Iraq and Afghan wars released by WikiLeaks.org
With the founding of WikiLeaks.org, Julian Assange became a whistle-blower for the digital age. Previously, those wanting to unveil government secrets often had to go through the established media of the day (think Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers). But WikiLeaks has allowed Assange, along with virtually anybody else who gets his hands on classified material, to publish such files online for all to see. The biggest and most controversial release of documents came with the publication of the war logs from the Afghan and Iraq wars, which covered everything from Iraqi-prisoner abuse to Pakistan's dual role in Afghanistan to Iranian influence in the region. But that was before WikiLeaks released 251,287 secret U.S. State Department cables dealing with virtually every foreign policy hot spot around the world, leading some to allege that the documents dump weakened U.S. diplomacy. On Dec. 7, Assange was arrested by British police for alleged sex offenses, but he argues that the charges have been manufactured just to get him behind bars, where he can no longer release leaked materials.