ABC journalist Andrew Fowler has discussed his interactions with WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange at the AusCERT conference on the Gold Coast.
Author of the book The Most Dangerous Man in the World, Fowler said working with Assange by contributing to a WikiLeaks fundraising drive was an interesting experience.
“Julian is hard to find at the best of times, and in those days he was very slippery… We made contact in the way that you do in spy novels,” he said.
“When you meet him, you see this Scarlet Pimpernel-type character but he’s just a regular sort of bloke.”
Fowler contributed funding that aided WikiLeaks’ release a video of the infamous 2007 US military attacks on Baghdad where civilians and journalists were killed. He said WikiLeaks’ rise was a by-product of the high level of security placed on information in Western countries.
“The problem that governments had was that they created an extraordinary pressure cooker,” Fowler said. “Then 9/11 came along and [they] had to share information more broadly.”
Fowler described Assange as paranoid but with good reason, saying that one particular leak left the founder on edge. “When they got the leak of the 650,000 documents, I know Assange felt under threat and they feared the CIA and getting picked up,” he said.
Fowler described Assange as a journalist. “He’s more of a journalist and shows more traits of being a journalist than many other people that I have worked with.”
IDG Communications is an official media partner for AusCERT 2011
Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar
Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAu