We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks


We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

Critics Consensus

As fascinating as it is provocative, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks presents another documentary triumph for director Alex Gibney, as well as a troubling look at one of the more meaningful issues of our time.



Total Count: 82


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,709
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Movie Info

Acclaimed documentarian Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) takes the reins for this no-holds-barred look at one of the most unusual phenomena of early 21st century media. In 2006, an Iceland-based outfit called The Sunshine Press launched the website WikiLeaks.org. As run by Australian Internet activist Julian Assange, the site's mandate involved regularly publishing top-secret documents and covert information, often regarding governments and their respective military operations. As might be expected, this set off a firestorm between those who admired the organization's bravado and resourcefulness, and those who argued, not unjustly, that the dissemination of data regarding such events as the U.S. war in Afghanistan could put untold numbers of lives at risk. In We Steal Secrets, Gibney relays the story of the WikiLeaks website from the inside, and moves beyond black and white to penetrate a complex network of activity guided by courage and idealism but also allegedly guilty of ethical insensitivity and hypocrisy. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

All Critics (82) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (7)

  • We Steal Secrets is much concerned with conspiracy theories and may well wind up fuelling new ones.

    Jul 12, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • A thorough and decently intentioned work, though it accepts a little too glibly the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger line against Assange: that he is a fascinating radical who simply became a paranoid authoritarian.

    Jul 11, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • This is saying something important. Check your Facebook settings.

    Jul 11, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • This thorough, engrossing film shows how idealistic Aussie hacker Julian Assange took on the might of the US, exposing their military and diplomatic misconduct, then allowed his own murky personal life to tarnish his credibility.

    Jul 9, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Sometimes it takes a feature-length documentary to stitch together a story we think we already know.

    Jun 13, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • A psychological suspense film with an open ending that's more haunting than the tricky climaxes of most post-Hitchcock thrillers.

    Jun 13, 2013 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

  • Feb 02, 2014
    For what it is, it's worth seeing. There are many parts that just make you say "WTF is this guy implying" which makes you question the veracity of most of the claims made here. It's basically the story of Assange and Manning. The other reason I didn't like it so much was that at times it was hard to pinpoint what event happened first; the film is quite jumbled and interviews are very varied.
    Wildaly M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2013
    The continuing theme of the latest season of "The Newsroom" is about how history can arise out of the most unlikely of circumstances. The moral of the story is not to jump off a balcony at a motel in New Hampshire, lest one do irreparable harm to the space time continuum. A prime example of this would be how Wikileaks came into the possession of about 100,000 United States State Department cables which is detailed in the informative documentary "We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks" which also helps to clarify a few points. One such is pointing out the computer expertise of Chelsea, ne Bradley, Manning, allowing her to break through the government firewalls after feeling isolated enough on an army base to seek out others on the internet, one of whom leads her to Wikileaks. At the same time, the documentary sadly does not take Manning's being transgendered seriously enough. And then there is Julian Assange who first came to attention as a teenaged hacker in Melbourne, Australia. After decades of travel, he helped to found Wikileaks which first came to attention in leaking bank documents in Iceland. Throughout the documentary Assange remains something of an elusive, slippery and maybe more than a little creepy enigma.(Am I the only who got a Warholian vibe off of him?) And contrary to his professed anarchist leanings, he also seems like something of a control freak(see also: open letter to Benedict Cumberbatch). So, instead of returning to Sweden to settle the allegations of sexual assault against him(and not everything is a CIA plot, by the way), he stays in England, wages a costly and futile court battle, splits his defenders and eventually settles in to star at the longest running production of 'The Man who Came to Dinner' at the Ecuadorian embassy. In other words, just because one does not have social skills, does not mean one cannot have a huge ego, especially hackers. But Assange being his worst enemy cannot be applied to not successfully redacting names from the State Department cables which is more to do to never previously having personal contact with one's sources like any reporter would and not understanding the inherent risks. Of course, the idiots at Fox News were going rake him over the coals, in any case.(If it had been Jon Stewart, that would have been something completely different.) As it is, the leaks ranged from embarrassing to providing evidence of war crimes but it is a disservice to courageous local activists on the ground to say the leaks were a central cause of the Arab Spring. Yes, one could make a case that a government requires secrecy to successfully conduct its business, but when you look at how messed up the world is right now, you have to think there has to be a different way. For example, bringing the maltreatment of Manning in custody to light did wonders to help his living conditions.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 04, 2013
    A fascinating documentary that sheds a revealing light on the largest whistleblowing scandal of recent times, its repercussions and the moral dilemma involved, even though Gibney also has a bit of trouble editing all this material together in a cohesive way.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2013
    Probably the most schoolboy sniggering opening to a serious documentary I've known due to talking about Assange's possible involvement in a Trojan virus called a wank worm. Anyway, fascinating history of Wikileaks, Assange and Manning in recent history. Once met Assange and he seemed a twat full of his own hyperbole - this documentary tells me I was right.
    Jon H Super Reviewer

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