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Q&A: WikiLeaks name a result of form and function

WikiLeaks name a composite

WikiLeaks appears to be a made-up word that has been in use awhile. What is its origin and/or meaning?

WikiLeaks is a hybrid name that reflects the origin and mission of the organization that was launched by dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and technologists from around the world.

A "wiki," according to the free online dictionary Wikipedia, is "a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG (acronym for what you see is what you get) text editor." WikiLeaks and Wikipedia are not affiliated.

The "leaks" portion represents what this organization does: It collects information that governments and institutions don't want released, and posts it on the Internet.

WikiLeaks ( was launched in 2006 and was initially open for anyone to contribute. It has since closed access.

One of its founders, Australian Julian Assange, 39, is under house arrest in Britain, fighting an extradition request from Sweden to face questioning in two sexual offenses. He has denied the accusations and says Sweden is only interested in his extradition so it can hand him over to the United States for prosecution for the release of classified documents. Sweden denies that. A decision on the extradition request is expected Feb. 24.

Soldier accused of leaks in brig

What's the latest on the soldier who is accused of taking documents from the government and giving them to WikiLeaks?

U.S. Pfc. Bradley Manning, 23, an intelligence analyst who was stationed in Iraq, is accused of leaking classified military videos and field reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and about 250,000 government cables.

He was detained in May after WikiLeaks released a video taken by cameras on U.S. Apache helicopters that show civilians being killed in a July 2007 strike in Iraq. The video was allegedly obtained from Manning.

Manning is being held in the U.S. Marine brig at Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia, awaiting trial on multiple charges of violating the U.S. Criminal Code. If convicted, he could get 50 years in prison. There have been reports that Manning is being mistreated, which the military denies.

WikiLeaks has donated $15,100 to Manning's defense fund, according to the New York Times.

854,000 have top-secret access

Given the information that has come from WikiLeaks, how many Americans have clearances for secret information?

A recent Washington Post series found that 854,000 Americans hold top-secret clearances. Of those, nearly a third work for private contractors, the newspaper reported. Three types of security clearances — confidential, secret and top secret — are issued by federal agencies.

Q&A: WikiLeaks name a result of form and function 02/13/11 [Last modified: Sunday, February 13, 2011 3:30am]
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