In 2011, the team at WikiLeaks were working with a volunteer by the name of Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson. As it turns out, Siggi was actually serving as a mole for the FBI.
A longtime resident of Iceland, the Wikileaks volunteer remained anonymous until Wired‘s Kevin Poulsen revealed Thordarson’s double role as a close Assange protégé and a paid informant.
The revelation comes just one week after two former WikiLeaks volunteers revealed that Google had handed over their personal emails to the US government.
Thordarson, 20, approached Poulsen because he is “a reporter disliked by Julian Assange.”
In his interview, Thorsdarson admits that he gave the FBI eight hard drives that contained more than 2,000 pages of chat logs, photos, and videos. The information obtained was taken while WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was under house arrest in Ellingham Hall in the UK.
Siggi has not yet revealed why he turned against Julian Assange. What we do know is that he was assigned to manage the site’s chat room. In his role, the FBI informant made contact with potential new volunteers, journalists, and potential sources for new data leaks.
Thordarson admits that, in June 2011, he approached the hacktivist group LulzSec to see if they would be willing to hack the websites of the Icelandic government. Reportedly, Siggi approached LulzSec without asking Assange for permission.
When asked why he became an FBI turncoat, Siggi says he “didn’t want to participate in having Anonymous and Lulzsec hack for WikiLeaks” since that breaks “quite a lot of laws.”
In November 2011, Thordarson was fired by WikiLeaks after the group discovered that he created a website where he sold WikiLeaks t-shirts and then embezzled the money to his own account. WikiLeaks claims Siggi walked away with $50,000.
The FBI paid Thordarson $5,000 for his services.
The US investigation into WikiLeaks is still underway with new materials being gathered.
In a response to the Siggi comments, Julian Assange tells the New York Times that the Justice Department “and its accompanying FBI investigation are blinded by their zeal to get rid of publishers who speak truth to power.”
Assange then added:
“They believe U.S. agencies can flout laws, coerce people into becoming informants, steal our property and detain our alleged sources without trial.”
WikiLeaks has filed a $50,000 police report against Siggi for his embezzlement. The Icelandic resident is also wanted in his own home country on unrelated charges of tax and financial crimes.