WikiLeaks has a track record of friction with the media organizations it collaborates with, and in the latest example of that, it rubbed The Associated Press the wrong way simply by identifying the news organization as a collaborator. The Syria Files, a massive dump of 2.4 million internal Syrian government emails WikiLeaks released Thursday, initially listed the AP among the organization's "collaborators" on the release. But, as Huffington Post's Michael Calderone reported Thursday, the link to AP was later removed from the collaborators list on WikiLeaks' site.
AP spokesman Paul Colford confirmed to The Atlantic Wire that it was AP that asked to be removed from the list. "It was their characterization of what was going on that was inaccurate. It wasn’t a characterization that we asked them to make," he said. Colford explained that WikiLeaks gave AP an advance look at the Syria Files, as do many organizations hoping to generate possible stories, but, as Colford says, "to make it appear as if that rises to the level of us being a collaborator with WikiLeaks is a few miles different."
It's not the first time WikiLeaks has driven off media organizations it considered collaborators. The antisecrecy organization really did work cooperatively with outlets like The New York Times and The Guardian in some of its early data dumps like the diplomatic cables it released in 2010. But eventually it fell out with them, and started listing smaller news organizations as collaborators.
Next to Lebanon's Al Akhbar, Egypt's Al Masry Al Youm, Italy's L'Espresso, Germany's NDR/ARD, France's Owni, and Spain's Publico.es, who are currently listed as WikiLeaks' collaborators, AP would have been a big get. It's larger in scale than those other organizations, and caters to an English-speaking audience. But Colford is right that simply giving an organization advance access to your data does not equal collaboration. So far, all AP has reported on the Syria Files is that they exist.