Five days after Daniel Domscheit-Berg claimed to have shredded data he "seized" from Wikileaks, he announced via Heise that he only destroyed the keys to the data, and was working on a report on the matter.
In the meantime, Wikileaks tweeted that these documents contained amongst others 5GB data from the Bank of America, internals of neo-nazi organizations, a copy of the US no fly list, 60,000 e mails from German far right party NDP, US intercept arrangements and videos of a major US atrocity in Afghanistan.
Wikileaks also reacted with an official statement, suggesting that Domscheit-Berg has contacts to US law enforcement and the secret service. Anke Domscheit-Berg, his wife, has denied having any such contacts.
According to N-TV Domscheit-Berg today confirmed that he uses the Wikileaks submission software, which he took along with the leaked documents, for his own Openleaks project.
As the plot thickens, we are left wondering how to interpret the increasingly erratic behaviour of Domscheit-Berg, who keeps contradicting himself and has now repeatedly stated that he took things which did not belong to him.
To an observer, the most puzzling aspect of this story is the timing of the claimed destruction of the data. After eleven months of negotiations, Domscheit-Berg all of a sudden decided to take action and "shred" the data. This step coincided with two developments, the expulsion from the Chaos Computer Club, and the launch of Openleaks. But which of these events triggered his decision, and why?
Perhaps the most worrying question is whether Domscheit-Berg did in fact destroy all copies of the documents. A recent leak of 60,000 NPD e mails to Spiegel and other media appears to be unrelated and nothing but a coincidence, as these documents date from March 2010 to January 2011, long after Domscheit-Berg had left.
German public TV wrote in February 2011 that they obtained 60,000 NPD e mails, but that these are not identical with the 37,000 e mails Wikileaks had announced to publish. Clearly, either Tagesschau or Wikileaks are mistaken about the numbers.
Established and well regarded conservative newspaper FAZ mistakenly identifies the deleted e mails with those that were passed on to a number of news outlets (but apparently not to them).