The group has released a number of significant documents that have become front-page news items. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the
In November 2010, WikiLeaks collaborated with major global media organisations to release U.S. State Department diplomatic "cables" in redacted format. On 1 September 2011, it became public that an encrypted version of WikiLeaks' huge archive of unredacted U.S. State Department cables had been available via BitTorrent for months and that the decryption key (similar to a password) was available to those who knew where to find it. WikiLeaks blamed the breach on its former publication partner, the
WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit organisation, funded largely by volunteers, and it is dependent on public donations. Its main financing methods include conventional bank transfers and online payment systems. Annual expenses have been estimated at about €200,000, mainly for servers and dealing with bureaucracy, but might reportedly become €600,000 if work currently done by volunteers were to become paid.
WikiLeaks' lawyers often work pro bono, and in some cases legal aid has been donated by media organisations such as the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. WikiLeaks' only revenue consists of donations, but it has considered other options including auctioning early access to documents. During September 2011, WikiLeaks began auctioning items on eBay to raise funds, and Assange told an audience at
Columnist Eric Zorn wrote in 2016 that "it's possible, even likely, that every stolen email WikiLeaks has posted has been authentic." (Writer Glenn Greenwald goes further, asserting that WikiLeaks has a "perfect, long-standing record of only publishing authentic documents.") However, cybersecurity experts agree that it is trivially easy for a person to fabricate an email or alter it, as by changing headers and metadata. Some of the more recent releases, such as many of the emails contained in the Podesta emails, contain DKIM headers. This allows them to be verified as genuine to some degree of certainty.
In July 2016, the Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Group, a bipartisan counterterrorism organization, warned that hackers who stole authentic data might "salt the files they release with plausible forgeries." Russian intelligence agencies have frequently used disinformation tactics, "which means carefully faked emails might be included in the WikiLeaks dumps. After all, the best way to make false information believable is to mix it in with true information."
In 2013, the organisation assisted Edward Snowden (who is responsible for the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures) in leaving
Controversially, WikiLeaks announced a reward of an additional $20,000 for information leading to a conviction regarding the death of Seth Rich. The death of Seth Rich is an item of fascination among right-wing conspiracy theorists who believe that Rich was murdered by the DNC; there are reports that the Wikileaks reward is an attempt to fuel this conspiracy theory.