WikiLeaks publishing biggest data leak to date – The Syria Files

5 Jul 2012

Whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks has revealed it has begun publishing what it calls ‘The Syria Files’ – more than 2.4m documents pertaining to the Syrian government, in what is its biggest data leak since ‘Cablegate’, the release of US government cables in 2011.

A spokesperson for WikiLeaks told a press conference in London today that WikiLeaks has created a new database search system to deal with all the data.

Most of the documents are emails that have been sent within the Syrian government from 6 August 2011 to 12 March 2012, and although WikiLeaks hasn’t been able to verify them all, it is “statistically confident that the vast majority of emails are what they purport to be.”

“This extraordinary data set derives from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture,” WikiLeaks said in a statement.

“The database comprises 2,434,899 emails from the 680 domains. There are 678,752 different email addresses that have sent emails and 1,082,447 different recipients. There are a number of different languages in the set, including around 400,000 emails in Arabic and 68,000 emails in Russian,” WikiLeaks added.

“The data is more than eight times the size of ’Cablegate’ in terms of number of documents, and more than 100 times the size in terms of data.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange did not attend the press conference but he did comment on the release of these new documents in the statement.

“The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents. It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it,” Assange said.

At this time Syria is undergoing a violent internal conflict that has killed between 6,000 and 15,000 people in the last 18 months, WikiLeaks said.

“The Syria Files shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another.”

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic