WikiLeaks Next Target: Putin’s Russia

by Daniel Foster

Is WikiLeaks going after Russia? If so, it should save America a lot of hand-wringing over what should be done about Julian Assange:

In an interview published on Tuesday, Oct. 26, in Russia’s leading daily newspaper, Kommersant, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said that “Russian readers will learn a lot about their country” after one of the site’s upcoming document dumps. “We want to tell people the truth about the actions of their governments.” 

So far Russia has had no official response. But on Wednesday, an official at the Center for Information Security of the FSB, Russia’s secret police, gave a warning to WikiLeaks that showed none of the tact of the U.S. reply to the Iraq revelations. “It’s essential to remember that given the will and the relevant orders, [WikiLeaks] can be made inaccessible forever,” the anonymous official told the independent Russian news website LifeNews.

When reached by TIME, the FSB, which is the main successor to the Soviet KGB, declined to elaborate on the comment or say whether it was the agency’s official position. But history has shown that the FSB readily steps in to shut down Internet tattlers. In June, a Russian analog to WikiLeaks called Lubyanskaya Pravda published a series of documents it claimed to be top-secret FSB files detailing the agency’s operations in the former Soviet Union and conflicts with other Russian security forces.

And that’s just when they are feeling charitable:

In a far more gruesome case of leak patching, former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who had published damning books about the agency and Russia’s leadership, was poisoned with a rare and highly radioactive polonium isotope while living in London in 2006. British police suspect former Russian security agent Andrei Lugovoi of murdering Litvinenko. But the Russian government, which vehemently denies any connection to the murder, has refused to extradite Lugovoi, and a nationalist party has since made him a member of the Russian parliament.

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