WikiLeaks.org - a group that's dedicated to posting leaked material from governments and other major institutions - has obtained and is currently publishing an archive of over 500,000 text messages that were sent, intercepted, and archived on 11 September 2001. The messages begin several hours prior to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and span the time of the attack and the following hours.
As the WikiLeaks intercepts page notes, this material is undoubtedly going to be a fantastic resource for anyone who wants a better understanding of how people reacted as events unfolded. However, the mere existence of this archive raises enormous concerns. Where did it come from? Who compiled it, who stored it, and under what authority?
Given the scope and magnitude of the archive, it is virtually impossible to believe that any non-governmental group could be responsible. The texts were sent over multiple telecommunications carriers, and do not appear to be related to any single agency, governmental or otherwise. Many of the early messages appear to be automatic warnings from computer systems to their operators, and many of those appear to be related to the financial industry, and not a government agency.
It's also important to note that the archive begins prior to the attacks. This is not something that can be excused as a response to the attacks, or as a new tool needed in the new post-9/11 world. This -whatever exactly it might be - is very clearly a project that was ongoing prior to the official start of the "War on Terror".
Who compiled these texts? Who told them to, and under what authority? When did it start, and has it ever stopped?
Those questions need to be answered, and they need to be answered soon.