The trailer for Alex Gibney's latest documentary, "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," debuted on Apple today. The film, which opens on May 24, offers a deeply unsettling look at the rise and fall of Julian Assange, who sought to use the tools of hacking to unlock the world's biggest secrets.
For much of the film, Assange comes off as an admirable, if eccentric, figure, whose campaign on behalf of radical openness not only alerted Americans to atrocities being committed in their names but also helped kickstart the Arab Spring.
Eventually, however, Assange's darker side emerges. By conflating the mission of WikiLeaks with his own campaign to discredit sexual assault charges filed against him in Sweden, Assange alienates many of his closest supporters -- and, in a painful irony, embraces the kind of secrecy he'd once so forcefully condemned.
Alex Gibney, whose 2007 film "Taxi to the Dark Side," won the Oscar for Best Documentary, never interviews Assange on camera, but there is plenty of revealing footage of him. Meanwhile, friends and former colleagues of PFC Bradley Manning, the man accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Assange, bring new clarity to his extremely sad story. And experts paint a portrait of an Obama administration more interested in protecting its secrets -- and mistakes -- than pursuing justice.
Interestingly, the words in the title are spoken not by Assange but by an American official. "We steal secrets," former CIA director Michael Hayden says of the United States.
Talk about ironic.
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