From Jeff Rosen’s review of Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s book, “Inside Wikileaks.”
Domscheit-Berg attributes Wiki Leaks’s increasing brazenness to Assange, who was more interested in attracting publicity (and women) than in making careful determinations about newsworthiness. Although he praises Assange for being “imaginative” and “energetic,” he ultimately finds him “so paranoid, so power-hungry, so megalomaniac” that he adopted the cultish secrecy, financial opacity and self-promoting marketing strategies of the people he fought against. A nomad and eccentric who wore two pairs of dirty pants and worked off a laptop while sleeping on borrowed couches, Assange was constantly fleeing from real and imagined enemies, objecting to Domscheit-Berg’s basement apartment because he feared his critics could peer through the windows. At the same time, Assange was contemptuous of his American supporters, such as the feminist Naomi Wolf and the filmmaker Michael Moore, who donated the bail money that secured his release from prison on rape charges. He ran WikiLeaks as a cult of personality, one that reminded Domscheit-Berg of the Church of Scientology, whose rituals they exposed. Although an anarchist who believed that those in power should be brought low, Assange refused to tolerate any criticism from his subordinates. Once Domscheit-Berg began to challenge him, their friendship fell apart. “Do not challenge leadership in times of crisis” became Assange’s favorite slogan.