Thursday, September 23, 2010

Follow the Money. Or Not: The FBI and WikiLeaks' Funding (Updated)

For all the hubbub about WikiLeaks and alleged plots by the CIA and Department of Defense to frame or assassinate its leader Julian Assange, it seems that many federal law enforcement agencies are simply not putting in significant effort to stop WikiLeaks.

I have previously reported on the perfunctory investigation of WikiLeaks by NCIS, similarly lackluster efforts by US Army CID, and, finally, a no records response from the Defense Technical Information Center on the matter of WikiLeaks.

It can now be reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has thus far declined to investigate the Wau Holland Foundation. The Wau Holland Foundation, named after a famed member of the German computer hacking collective Chaos Computer Club, has been named as a leading source of WikiLeaks of funding (processor of donations see below) by the Wall Street Journal. Despite this and the linkage to the Chaos Computer Club, the FBI has opted not to investigate further.

Nota Bene

I was informed via Twitter that describing Wau Holland Foundation as a "funder" was incorrect. Looking at it again, I'm inclined to treat it as a funder. It is claimed that all it does is accept donations for WikiLeaks which it then (allegedly) dispenses. However, I have never dealt or seen any organization that supposedly just accepts funds on behalf of a non-profit for that non-profit's use turn around and demand receipts before issuing out grants.

Even if I am wrong on this point, my major point about American law enforcement and military agencies not caring about WikiLeaks remains unchallenged.

FBI Wau Holland Response Letter


  1. "Funder" is still highly inaccurate. The correct term is "fiscal sponsor" which is what many nonprofits do. Nonprofits and foundations have the ability to be the "fiscal sponsor" of other projects. In doing so - they extend their nonprofit status so they can collect tax deductible donations. The relationship this German foundation has with WL sounds like a classic fiscal sponsor relationship. It's very common. There are even some nonprofits in the states (Tides Center) which act PURELY to be fiscal sponsors for other organizations.