I first looked at wikileaks in March 2009 when it breathlessly released some supposedly secret document about Microsoft (MSFT) and open source software supposedly being secretly influenced by some supposedly secret front group in America. The supposedly secret document was being written by some supposedly secret working group in the former European Union. The document was amateurish drivel full of demonstrably false data.
That being said, I defend wikileaks right to distribute such drivel.
Based on the press reports the week of November 29 about the release of U.S. State Department cables and what they supposedly contain, it does not appear that wikileaks.org did anything different than the NY Times did in 1971 relative to the Pentagon Papers. The U.S. Supreme Court said then that the press had the right to print stuff that was leaked to it, drivel or not. I define most everything I've seen since from wikileaks as drivel because I have yet to see anything about either information technology or the U.S. government or anything else that has not already been widely reported or opined about. That's my definition of drivel; repetitive innacurate or irrelevant background information.
Daniel Ellsberg -- who gave the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971 -- argued on November 30 that the Pentagon Papers were important but that the diplomatic cables wikileaks distributed were drivel. I believe Ellsberg was later charged with espionage but that the charges were dropped because of U.S. government misconduct in prosecuting him. The U.S. government employee or employees that leaked the State Department cables should also get his or her or their day in court.
But that does not apply to wikileaks today anymore than it applied to the NY Times 40 years ago. In fact, strangely, wikileaks says on its web site that it -- unlike the NY Times -- does not solicit leaks.
I looked at the wikileaks site today and find that the 2009 Microsoft/open source memo does not even seem to make its list of important drivel leaks as described on its "about" page. I also could not find the Microsoft/open source memo itself on the site and the link from my March 2009 post seems to be broken (possibly because of heavy traffic on the wikileaks site or possible denial of service attacks or possibly because wikileaks decided to delete the Microsoft/open-source drivel after lack of press interest).
That is, I also cannot find any contemporaneous reporting of the Microsoft/open-source document (but this wikileaks mirror site discusses it from an open source zealot's perspective and there are a few other blog posts in addition to my own). It appears that in general the press doesn't like leaks about enterprise software that aren't first leaked to it. That's not surprising because that is how leaks work. Just putting out a billion bytes of gibberish to everyone doesn't inform anyone. That applies to investment research as well as to foreign policy.
By the way, in case you have any juicy tidbits about Microsoft that you cannot get a reporter to bite on, wikileaks is also not accepting new drivel as of December 1, 2010. According to wikileaks that is because it is "re-engineering" its site (but see above vis a vis heavy traffic and DOS attacks or possibly a new understanding of the lack of importance of drivel).