WikiLeaks is promoting a pirated copy of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, a bestselling book on Donald Trump’s first year in office. Yesterday, it tweeted a Google Drive link described as a full PDF of Fire and Fury. It deleted that tweet, but re-posted the link with an added degree of separation, saying that the book had “leak[ed] onto internet.” Google has since removed the file in question.
We don’t know exactly why WikiLeaks, whose stated specialization is publishing “censored or otherwise restricted” official documents, shared the text of a widely available published work. The White House has condemned Fire and Fury for its unflattering portrayal of Trump, and one theory holds that WikiLeaks is trying to sabotage the book’s commercial success, particularly since it sought the Trump campaign’s approval in 2016. WikiLeaks derided this explanation online, saying that “[WikiLeaks] reports on leaks. Hint: It’s in the name.” (That said, pirated book copies aren’t usually called “leaks.”) The organization did not immediately reply to a Twitter message requesting comment.
Trump’s lawyers did try to stop Fire and Fury’s publication, so the book ran the risk of qualifying as “censored,” but they were unsuccessful. The Verge wasn’t able to verify the file’s contents before it was removed, but there’s no indication that WikiLeaks was trying to distribute an unpublished earlier text. The most generous explanation is that WikiLeaks wanted to freely share the details from Wolff’s widely discussed book, but if you’re looking for pirated ebooks, there are plenty of other places to get them.
So it’s eminently plausible that this is just a publicity play from WikiLeaks — which has successfully jumped into the conversation around one of the biggest stories of the new year.