Fact Check: WikiLeaks Error Message Does NOT Reflect Recent Removal Of Leaked DNC Emails -- Message Dates Back To 2022

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: WikiLeaks Error Message Does NOT Reflect Recent Removal Of Leaked DNC Emails -- Message Dates Back To 2022 Error Not New

Did WikiLeaks.org remove 20,000 leaked Democratic National Committee emails on the day that Julian Assange made a plea deal in a U.S. District Court? No, that's not true: A review of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine shows that the error notice on the WikiLeaks DNC email database appeared sometime between November 5 and November 8, 2022. It is not a recent change. The timing of Assange's plea and the server error notice on WikiLeaks do not coincide.

A screenshot of the now-deleted claim appeared in a post on X (archived here) on June 26, 2024. The post was captioned:

All 20,000 leaked DNC emails have just been removed from WikiLeaks. This is part of a deal with Biden's DOJ. Now everything makes sense.


(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Jun 26 19:53:25 2024 UTC)

This post, suggesting that the emails had been removed and that it was part of a deal with "Biden's DOJ" (Department of Justice) appeared on the day Assange took a plea deal in a U.S. district court in the Northern Mariana Islands. Assange pleaded guilty to conspiring unlawfully to obtain and disseminate classified information. The judge credited Assange with time served in a British prison and he was freed. There was no mention of a stipulation, as part of the plea deal, that Assange or WikiLeaks would need to remove anything from the website at this time.

It is unclear what happened to the archive of 19,252 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails that have been hosted on the website since 2016. The DNC email archive is featured on a page of various leaks (pictured below left) with a cartoon thumbnail with the DNC donkey logo, near the Hillary Clinton email archive. However, unlike the Clinton archive, which opens to a search page (below right top), the DNC email archive opens to an internal server error notice (below right bottom). If navigating directly from the advanced search function, a filtered search for DNC Email Archive returns 42,806 results. These results, including a preview of the email title and recipients, can not be opened and read -- each only returns an internal server error notice.


(Source: Lead Stories composite image with WikiLeaks screenshots taken on Wed Jun 26 17:01:22 2024 UTC)

A search on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine for the history of the link wikileaks.org/dnc-emails shows that this error notice appeared in 2022 (pictured below), sometime after the last archive of the page on November 5 and the first archive of an error notice on November 8.


(Source: Lead Stories composite image with Internet Archive screenshots taken on Wed Jun 26 17:01:22 2024 UTC)

On February 16, 2024, a Reddit user noticed that some of the WikiLeaks archive links were not working. At the time they could not view the DNC or John Podesta emails, but currently, on June 26, 2024, the Podesta archive is accessible. They posted their question on r/WikiLeaks (archived here) and did not receive an explanation at the time:

Podesta and DNC Email Archive Unavailable
Has anyone seen any information as to why the Podesta and DNC email archives are unavailable?

Emails will still appear in the search function (see photo), but you get an error when you try to view individual emails (photo 2).

Try for yourself:



The Clinton Email archive was also not working for a time, but appears to be okay now:


Additional Lead Stories fact checks on claims including WikiLeaks can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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