How does WikiLeaks do what they do?

Despite the confines of his asylum, Julian Assange still manages to be the mouth of WikiLeaks. He announced they published 20,000 DNC emails. How are they able to hack to such a great extent? There’s speculation Russia and China are behind it, but are their governments leading the charge, or did Assange somehow manage to attract zillions of independent hackers to his cause? Don’t we know any of his competitors? Can he be hacked back?

Wikileaks is just a distribution point. They don’t do the hacking, they probably don’t even know for sure where the stuff they get comes from.

Wikileaks doesn’t perform hacks (as far as we know). They just publish information. Anyone who has some information they want published, but that they don’t want to publish themselves (usually because they obtained it illegally, or it was classified and they don’t want to get in trouble for releasing it), can send it to them.
The DNC hack was almost certainly done by Russian intelligence or someone working for them, but other Wikileaks disclosures probably do come from independent ‘hacktivists’, or from people with access to classified information who want to leak it.

Assange himself probably doesn’t actually do much of anything these days - he’s busy hiding in an embassy so that he doesn’t get extradited back to Sweden to face his rape charges. Wikileaks is a nonprofit, it probably has a staff of volunteers who manage the actual work of collecting, collating, and releasing information.

You know that point in the last third of the movie, where Our Hero is holding the Proof That Will Blow the Lid Off Things, and doesn’t know who to trust it with? Then he goes to the New York Times or Rolling Stone to publish it? (Very subtle Stephen King ref… points for figuring it out.) And then the editor turns out to be one of the Bad Guys, o noes… but the plucky copy editor rushes it to print anyway?

Wikileaks is the go-to publisher for this stuff now. And doesn’t usually turn out to be a pawn of the Big Bad.