Spielberg buys rights to WikiLeaks book

Updated: Mar 03, 2011, 09:28 AM IST

London: Hollywood film mogul Steven Spielberg has bought the rights to the story of the WikiLeaks saga, the Guardian reported Wednesday.

The Guardian was one of the five original media outlets used by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to publicise the tranche of thousands of classified US documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and diplomatic cables.

A book based on the story of the covert leaks, and controversial figurehead Assange, has been published by The Guardian, and the rights to the book have now been purchased by Spielberg, the paper reported.

The likely future movie of the book will be made by DreamWorks, the studio founded by Spielberg and others in 1994.

The news of a possible film comes despite a fresh controversy surrounding Assange, who is awaiting extradition to Sweden on rape charges.

Assange, who fell out with the Guardian after the publication, rang the editor of the British satirical magazine Private Eye last month to complain about his treatment by the paper.

In the course of that conversation, the editor of Private Eye Ian Hislop writes in the new edition of the magazine, Assange said Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and investigations editor David Leigh there was a conspiracy against him, and both were Jewish.

Informed that Rusbridger was not Jewish, Assange reportedly told Hislop "forget the Jewish thing".

Assange later released a statement via Twitter, saying: "Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase.

"In particular, `Jewish conspiracy` is completely false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting," he said.

Assange is still in Britain, where his lawyers are appealing the decision to grant his extradition to Sweden.