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. Christine O'Brien Stenger

    After five years of attempting to tell the truth about a Fortune 500 health insurance company, there's a small part of me that honors Mr. Julian Assange. The court system is slow and too tedious ann em0tionally costly. My case should come to court in 2010. In depostisiton, a defendant admits that he knowingly falsely accused a mentally ill person of fraud, but he had to to it. Media has failed to tell the truth, thus denying the pubic an understanding of the evil within some for-profit insuirance companies. Were I Mr. Assuage, I, too, would use the internet to get out secrets. Just google "Christine O'Brien Stenger" and you will surely understand why.

    December 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jasdk

      .......thus they are FOR PROFIT, they try to minimize their exposure especially with VERY CHEAP plans.

      December 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • just sayin

      I KNEW IT!!!!I was just sayin, yet it's true! My prediction was right!

      December 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sally Li

      Don't forget the fact that for several decades, it has been known for its accelerating lack of common sense. Instead of a jury pool which is selected from the general population, it ought to be selected from among attorneys, law-enforcement personnel, legislative staffers, judges, law school students, and even an occasional prisoner – because sometimes criminals know the law as well as some attorneys do, but they have a different perspective on it; and if they are generally well-behaved and entirely non-violent, they ought to be given a chance to be on a jury. There also ought to be a literacy test for jurors, and jurors ought to also be primarily selected from among a professional class of jurors who serve on juries repeatedly, are paid well for the purpose (This would save the States and Federal Government money over the long run, believe it or not) and are not subject to exclusion by prosecutors or defense who are trying to stack the deck in their favor, one way or the other. The idea of compulsory service on juries by random choosing among registered voters hasn't worked, and we should admit that and reform the process. If we introduce some common-sense reforms into the jury selection process, we will be able to reintroduce an expectation of common sense into our judicial branch of government generally. (c) SD 19028-0877 USA

      December 31, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |

      What company was it?

      December 31, 2010 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. Google

    stop using my name!

    December 30, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim P

    I used to be a woman.

    December 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim P is an idiot

    barak eating chicken and purple drink is the most offensive? how about the dude saying woman shouldn't have rights? just because he's the president doesn't make it any different than any other time its been said about a black person. and I know you've heard it before this blog, so shut up.

    December 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Christine O'Brien Stenger

    I hate when people use my name. I want some privacy! Oh, is this what happens when everything is fair game?

    December 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine O'Brien Stenger

      What appears as an earlier post using my name has been tampered with. These were not my words, Google 'Christine O'Brien Stenger' and know the press does not always reveal the truth. Just maybe even this will not reach the cnn viewers eyes and maybe I will have to turn to the likes of wikileaks, How sad,

      December 31, 2010 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jim P

    I concur!

    December 30, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jim P


    December 30, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Admonition

      If they can't use your name then they can't falsely patrionize you to over come you. and you cant expect the mafia to quit using that tactic. I got the same problem except its black market famicide and the malice echelons of the psychic visual spy manipulations are the private defense contractors of the united states causing the trouble so they get huge government contracts to build super computers of the psychic visual spy manipulations communication systems that have promoted all the wars of the bush erra and the school shootings and the world trade center conspiracy's and even the suicide bombers in the middle east.

      December 31, 2010 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. CNN hijacked by Anonymous!

    its clear the CNN comment sections have been taken over by assanage's Anonymous cronies. soon there will be over 9000 posts. they must be stopped

    December 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Admonition

      Do you have uh penis. UH PENIS acronym to...... Underwriters Hierarchy, of the Pantoglot's Eigenvalue's in Nomology Iniquity of the Syndicate.

      December 31, 2010 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. Grandma

    Help! I've fallen and can't get up! It was ASSange, the bastige pushed me!

    December 30, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. taheer

    Ya he is all they say

    December 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ty Webb

    Apparently 2010 was dreadfully uninteresting

    December 30, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      As long as it isn't that beer commercial trying to sell that cheap Mexican beer. Though I haven't tried it, I am told it is really nasty tasking stuff! LOL

      December 31, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. phil

    Wiki didn't leak anything many of US didn't know already. Those who are intrigued are those who actually believed stuff like this never happens. It upset their delicate little world where the USA is alway's right no matter what. Their's is a house of cards that a little wiki-wind blew down. Now they must try to put the cards back in place before the next wind blows. Soon their cards will be gone, and they will be playing 52-pickup without a deck.

    December 30, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • suebon

      Well, Phil, I guess you're right. How about CNN post all your private conversations with your friends & coworkers & family? Shouldn't be an issue right? Say you tell one cousin how you don't really like an uncle but you stroke him cause it's the right thing to do. No problem right? Or how about that coworker you really don't like and you let tag along despite dissing him to other coworkers, not a problem to let him know how you really feel about him right? I'll be waiting for you to post every email and every phone conversation & every personal conversation you've had for the past 10 yrs – no harm done, right? Perfectly legit to post them, right? Lucky for you none of them are life threatening, wish I could say the same about the Wikileaks!!!! But hey, it's good with you. Get all that secret stuff in the open, be damned who dies because of it!

      December 31, 2010 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      What suebon said.

      December 31, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. phil

    anyone know where to find any herpe cream?

    December 30, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. phil

    Some poser is using my s/n again. I did not post "herpe"...besides, it's' herpes'. Sincerest form of flattery?

    December 30, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. phil


    December 30, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
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