As a commenter noted, WikiLeaks' founder did not attend The Next Hope hacker conference at the Hotel Pennsylvania. Julian Assange was scheduled as the keynote speaker yesterday, but perhaps reports of federal agents scoping out the event on Friday prompted the mysterious to change his mind. Instead of Assange in person or speaking by video, his replacement was WikiLeaks contributor and Tor Project programmer Jacob Appelbaum.

In a recent New Yorker profile, Assange is portrayed as being paranoid about U.S. feds spying on him, and why not, since his site has published a number of classified materials, including a video of U.S. forces killing a Reuters journalist and his assistant in Iraq. However, Assange did attend the TED Global conference in England on Friday, but, as, CNN reports, "He said he had to cancel three public appearances in the United States, including one at the June conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors in Las Vegas, Nevada, because of 'unreasonable' statements by U.S. officials in private that they 'may not follow the rule of law' in dealing with him."

At The Next Hope conference, Applebaum described WikiLeaks' operations. According to CNET, "Appelbaum wasn't taking any chances: after his speech ended, he indicated he'd be back after the leaked video finished playing. But he ducked behind a curtain and left the conference hotel through a rear door, while a doppelganger wearing the same style of black hoodie (with his head covered) made a very public exit through the front."