Your pick for Most Intriguing Person of 2010 is ...
December 30th, 2010
10:09 AM ET

Your pick for Most Intriguing Person of 2010 is ...

He's been called a criminal, a spy and a champion of the First Amendment. Some think he’s a villain. Some see him as a hero.

The only thing that’s beyond debate: Julian Assange has more intrigue than the pulp section of a bookstore.

WikiLeaks' mastermind, the guy who everyone loved to hate or loved to defend, got the most first-place votes (25%) on's “Most Intriguing Person” poll for 2010. Following Assange were:

2. President Barack Obama
3. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg
4. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
5. Marisol Valles Garcia, a police chief in Mexico
6. Chilean miner Edison Pena
7. Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart
8. Tony Hayward, the former CEO of BP
9. Kim Jong Un, presumed future leader of North Korea
10. Antoine Dodson, whose thoughts about rape went viral on video

Maybe Assange’s victory is payback for Zuckerberg edging him out of Time's Person of the Year?

Let's recap why Assange was so captivating in ’10.

In July, the 39-year-old Australian with snow-white hair dominated headlines when the online organization he founded four years ago published a huge trove - 90,000 documents - of secret military documents about the Afghanistan war. Simultaneously, major news outlets The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel published the classified records and provided series of stories layered with context about the biggest intelligence leak in U.S. history. The documents provided what is considered to be the first on-the-ground, unvarnished look at the Afghanistan war. Many said that the documents conveyed that the war was going much worse than the positive interpretation often heard in Washington.

Suddenly, Assange was everywhere, and so were questions. Who was this man, and how did he get this information? What is WikiLeaks?

Assange taunted his critics (mostly government officials) on Twitter and in interviews and defended the right to publish the information, arguing that the world should know. An American soldier, Pvt. Bradley Manning, sat in a military prison in Virginia, widely suspected of the leak. Manning seems to have garnered fewer headlines than Assange, though the soldier’s story and the characters involved have sparked passionate reaction. Assange has repeatedly said that he does not know whether Manning was indeed the source of secret documents.

And that was just this summer.

By the fall, Assange was uber-famous. He was elusive, telling journalists that he hopped around the globe trying to avoid the officials whose ire he'd mightily stoked by betraying their secrets. During an interview with CNN on the eve of another document dump - this time more than 400,000 classified documents about the Iraq war - Assange walked out. He was irate that a reporter would ask him about allegations that he'd committed a sex crime in Sweden.

That separate story concerning the Sweden case unfolded in intriguing ways and is still unspooling. It's playing out now, as is another massive development in the ongoing WikiLeaks saga.

Popularly known as CableGate, WikiLeaks has released what it says is the beginning of a collection of 250,000 diplomatic U.S. cables. Some cables seem to be merely titillating; others appear to be critically revealing. No matter what, the story is going to continue for a long while. Consider this: Less than 1 percent of that gigantic trove has been published so far.

In the wake of the cable releases, corporations and groups doing business with WikiLeaks stopped doing business with the group, and in response Anonymous avengers fought back. Meanwhile, Assange was arrested in relation to the Sweden case, chatter about a "poison pill" file that Assange established captured the public's imagination, and the debate over WikiLeaks raged on.

Bottom line: You know you're interesting when “Saturday Night Live” creates a recurring character based on you. And isn't it a clue that you're going to win Most Intriguing Person on when even your alleged years-old online love pursuits become a top headline? Read his old OKCupid profile.

There's undoubtedly more to come from Assange. He told Forbes magazine in a recent interview that he has insider documents from a major bank, revealing all kinds of corruption and misdeeds. Many have speculated that it's Bank of America.

The holidays proved no break in Assange coverage. News hit that he inked a book deal. He said the money would go to pay his legal fees.

The biggest question, the one that perhaps fascinates the most, is this: Will Assange be charged with espionage?

2011 might hold the answer.

soundoff (488 Responses)
  1. Julian Assausage

    Impregnate her!

    December 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Julian Assausage

    Monica. Is that you? I hear you blow big time.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. important posters wife


    December 30, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CNN

    you're all fired

    December 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. important posters wife


    December 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Julian Assausage

    Look folks. Don't go talking about r8pe to me. I know a lot about that subject. And don't go telling me you'll print the real truth that I left my child when he was a toddler. Who cares about mundane subjects like that? If you print those truths about me, I will hack your assage.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbarag

      If this is your listing of intriguing......small brain is all I can say. I want to see what another idiot would do this julians date of birth, social security number, mental diagnosis, all medical history, spending history, address, vin # or your car, bank account #, etc, etc, etc.........This list is the most embarrassing and nautious thing I have ever seen. SMALL BRAINS

      December 30, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. important posters wife

    I dare wikileaks to try and hack this tex6554^^^^£""$%^^&&>>>>>>>>>>>t

    December 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mhouston

    Someone should take all of your e-gear away from you people. Don't you children have anything better to do?
    Wiki sneaks...Wiki peeks...Wiki freaks...Wiki leaks...Assange is a sanctimonious, irresponsible little dweeb who
    needs to quit "leaking" until he puts all his own personal info out there with the rest of the stuff he's stolen.
    Give us your medical records, Julien. How about all your addresses. What do your doctors say about you?
    Where is yo' Mama? Oh! That's private info, you say? Well, come on, man!! The truth will set us all "free",
    won't it? Go back in your hole, you snake!

    December 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. important posters wife

    This story must be important,look at all the posts

    December 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hacker

    that's says "geaorge foreman was the second gunmen on the grassy knoll." hardly surprising.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CNN

    Wait. Make that you're all HIRED!

    December 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. important posters wife

    houston has the best gay massage parlors

    December 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mhouston

    please can I have your address?? please?!?! I want to make love to your hair.

    December 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CNN

    We at CNN take our blogs really seriously. Seriously, I will hire one of you to replace that so called conservative wench, that sits with Spitzitout on CNN TV. She isn't exactly Mensa material don't ya knows, but hey.....a fake conservative is all we're allowed to hire here on CNN. We would never do what FOX does and actually have real conservatives just cuz they hire real liberals. What good would that do to our agenda? Like....HELLOOOOO. ANYONE HOME???

    December 30, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbarag

      This looks like a conversation with 10 year olds........I will never be able to take CNN serious again. I'm switching channels. The comments about Barak Obama and fried chicken and purple drink this the most offensive thing I have heard in a LONG time. This sounds like a hate crime blog waiting to happen!!

      December 30, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. important person

    I want you all to know that death has a sound all its own

    December 30, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
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