Wikileaks admits that the late Aaron Swartz was a possible source
Aaron Swartz, the internet activist and hacker who committed suicide last week, was an ally and possible source for the site Wikileaks. That is what the site claimed on its twitter account in a series of tweets after the death of Aaron was announced. The website also admitted that Swartz was in communication with Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, and that was between 2010 and 2011.
Wikileaks made the decision to reveal these details because of the fact that the U.S Secret Service got involved in Swartz’s case. The goal of the site Wikileaks is to expose classified information that was not suppose to leak out. Normally the sources that provide those informations are never revealed and remain anonymous. Wikileaks had to make an exception in Swartz’s case. The computer activist was charged with computer fraud in July 2011. It was believed he could face up to 35 years in prison for allegedly harvesting millions of scholarly articles. Those articles were hosted on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology network.
According to The Verge, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) turned over the evidence incriminating Swartz to the U.S Secret Service who took over the investigations. The following Sunday, MIT announced the untimely death of the computer activist and presented its condolences to his friends and family.
It is part of wikileaks policy to never reveal the identity of its sources. On its website, Wikileaks explains that it can’t reveal the identity of it sources because doing so will help those that are very much interested in compromising the security of the sources and the organization itself.
On its twitter profile, Wikileaks decided to disclose 3 different facts about Aaron Swartz and the kind of relationship he had with the website. Kristinn Hrafnsson, the Icelandic spokesperson for Wikileaks confirmed to CNET that the tweets were authentic but chose not to elaborate on them.
The U.S Secret Service has the legal right to investigate any computer related crime if it chooses to do so. Another agency with the same mandate is the FBI. There are a number of U.S. Federal agencies that share the legal mandate to investigate in computer crimes and that includes unauthorized access to protected computers which is exactly what Aaron Swartz was allegedly guilty of. Among other things the U.S Secret Service also has the mandate to investigate into identity fraud, food stamp fraud, forgery and other federal offenses.
Based on the tweets that Wikileaks has released, speculations have been made as to what the organization is trying to suggest. The blog known as EmptyWheel mentioned the fact that if Wikileaks tweets are to be true, it will imply that the US government used Aaron’s case as a premise to investigate into Wikileaks.
So far Wikileaks has not provided supporting evidence that highlights the Secret Service involvement and for that matter cannot elaborate further on what the tweets are really about. For now the only sure thing is there are going to be speculations and criticism about how the U.S government handled the Swartz case.