The Cable

WikiLeaks Takes Aim at the Trans-Pacific Partnership

WikiLeaks is offering a $100,000 bounty for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the White House wants kept secret.

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President Barack Obama’s administration insists the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership — potentially the largest trade deal in U.S. history — needs to be kept out of the public eye while negotiators hammer out its final details. WikiLeaks has joined an unlikely alliance of critics who disagree.

The transparency group, which has published three chapters of the draft deal in recent years, is offering a $100,000 “bounty” for the rest of it. The crowd-funded effort is the first time the organization and its leader, Julian Assange, have offered the public a cash reward to uncover what the American government wants kept secret. It’s also a departure from the past, when the organization released documents on its own.

“The transparency clock has run out on the TPP. No more secrecy. No more excuses. Let’s open the TPP once and for all,” Assange said in a statement Tuesday morning. He’s taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden, where authorities want him to answer questions about sexual assault allegations.

The payoff represents the organization’s most bold foray into international finance. It’s best known for releasing secret U.S. diplomatic cables and American military information, and for championing NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

WikiLeaks now joins the already unlikely alliance in Washington — Tea Party Republicans, liberal Democrats, and labor unions — lobbying against the TPP for fear it will hurt American workers.

White House efforts to win authority to fast-track the trade deal have stalled in the House over concerns the deal would take away American jobs and overlook currency manipulation by Asian nations that keep the prices of their goods low. The White House insists the deal would generate an additional $123.5 billion in exports of American products to Asia and that the pact is necessary to keep the U.S. economy competitive in the 21st century.

Photo credit: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

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