Assange is an interesting case. I think there is no doubt that he provided a platform to reveal things the US government was doing that people needed to know about. I think there is also little doubt that Assange was working hand in hand with powers that were actively trying to interfere in US politics and he almost certainly knew that he was not releasing information from whistleblowers but from state actors engaging in hacking and he was doing it in such a way to maximize their impact and to attempt to legitimize the information. Did he shine some light on nefarious activities? Yes. Did he put informers around the world in danger from hostile governments? Yes. Did he demand, under threat of heavy penalties, that his own employees sign non-disclosure agreements? Yes
Now, the receiver of that agreement has come forward to discuss it. James Ball, a data journalist for the Guardian, wrote of how a mis-sent tweet released the agreement into the public sphere, but that he’s now come to realize it should be there.
Ball had meant to send the agreement to someone on Twitter through a private direct message, but instead he sent it out to the public. It could have cost him a pretty penny because even revealing the existence of the agreement was a breach of the agreement — however Ball never signed it.
“I refused to sign Julian Assange's confidentiality agreement because it would have been not just ironic, but dangerous,” he writes. Assange defends the belief that whistleblowing is the only way to keep an organization accountable, but then asks his volunteers to never leak any information. “It has no board, or no oversight. If any organization in the world relies on whistleblowers to keep it honest, it is WikiLeaks.”
For a guy who is all about transparency, he sure seems to have a lot he wants to hide. The short of it is that no matter how many good things you do, you are still accountable for the bad things and Assange seems to have done some bad things.