Although it may seem as though WikiLeaks has flooded the Web with a mind-boggling number of classified diplomatic cables, the site says it has actually published only a fraction of 1 percent of the trove of secret State Department information it has.
WikiLeaks claims to have an archive of 251,287 cables. It has published fewer than 1,000.
One of his attorneys, Jennifer Robinson, said that the remaining contents of the State Department trove will continue to be published "unabated as scheduled, in a very orderly fashion" in the coming months. The documents could even be released in parts throughout 2011 in conjunction with media that had advance access to WikiLeaks' documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as the cables, said Robinson.
At least three media organizations have obtained advance copies of WikiLeaks' documents: The Guardian, The New York Times and Germany's Der Spiegel.
Though Assange has been jailed in Great Britain, where he'll remain until a court appearance December 14, WikiLeaks doesn't appear to be deterred.
On Tuesday, more than 70 cables were released online while Assange spent the night behind bars, and more are supposedly coming soon. Several hundred Web sites have popped up that appear to have copied WikiLeaks' data in order to act as "mirror sites."
Hackers have hit back at financial companies that have cut off support to WikiLeaks, and they have attacked the Swedish prosecutors' site. There's talk of a "Poison Pill," a massive mystery file that Assange has said would be released if he or WikiLeaks is hurt.
The story of WikiLeaks can feel overwhelming. Consider that the site has been making headlines since July, when it published more than 90,000 documents that showed, for the first time, a ground-level view of the war in Afghanistan.
The documents are suspected to have come from a U.S. soldier Bradley Manning.
The math just gets more intense. Add 400,000 documents WikiLeaks released in October about the Iraq war. And now this: more than a quarter-million memos U.S. diplomats have written to Washington, correspondence that they presumably thought would never see the light of day.
Some of it falls into the category of amusing; other cables are more serious.
For example, a cable made public Wednesday was sent from the consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where alcohol is banned and carnal relations strictly regulated. The cable discussed a wild party at a Saudi prince's home involving alcohol and "working girls." The cable says, "cocaine and hashish use is common in these social circles and has been seen on other occasions."
Other cables have provided insight into North Korea, revealed important information about Iran's nuclear capabilities and suggested that the State Department asked its diplomats to spy on their counterparts.