In his first public speech since taking the reins of the agency, CIA director Mike Pompeo had a biting comment regarding the pro-transparency website WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief Julian Assange. Pompeo thinks the website should be treated as a national security risk since it acts as a “hostile intelligence service.”
Pompeo Thinks Assange is Destroying the West
America’s freshly minted spymaster also accused Assange “and his ilk” of helping dictators while pretending they are acting in the name of liberty and privacy. In Pompeo’s view, Assange and other whistleblowers seek “personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.”
WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,
the director said Thursday.
His opinion about the topic is in a stark contrast to Trump’s. On the campaign trail, the billionaire seemed content after WikiLeaks published the stolen emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta.
In March, the hacktivist website published 8,000 files detailing the cyber tools the CIA and other intelligence agencies are using in cyber espionage. The unmasking of those tools renders them useless, as government cyberspies now need to develop new ones.
WikiLeaks started its career by publishing 250,000 leaked documents from the U.S. Department of Defense, which revealed embarrassing moments for the U.S. military while fighting in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Pompeo underlined that these leaks of U.S. secrets have no “quick fix,” and Assange represents a threat to the country’s national security. The FBI chief added that America should no longer let Assange and his aides “use free speech against us.” Pompeo didn’t say how we could do that, but he pointed out that the Australian is not protected by the U.S. Constitution as he doesn’t have citizenship.
Pompeo also said that early this year, U.S. spy agencies found evidence the Russian military spy agencies used the information provided by WikiLeaks to humiliate the Democratic Party in the so-called DNC hack. The U.S. also found that WikiLeaks fed the government-owned Russian news network RT with critical information.
Pompeo Takes Aim at Edward Snowden Too
Pompeo was upset at former NSA contractor Edward Snowden too, who leaked top secret documents showing the U.S. government runs mass surveillance programs at home and overseas.
Snowden has sought asylum in Russia, while Assange lives in the Ecuador’s embassy in London. Both men are concerned that if they leave their places of refuge they would be extradited to the U.S. and prosecuted.
Pompeo added that Snowden and Assange use the data U.S intel community strives to collect with great efforts and in great secrecy to “make a name for themselves.” They don’t care about the lives they put at risk or the impact on the country’s national security as long as they can “make a splash,” the FBI director said.
Wednesday, The Washington Post published an article in which Assange defended his activity. He told the Post the disclosures are “truths” about secret abuses and overreaches by the world’s powerful. Assange said he published the CIA’s hacking tools because the agency lost control of its cyber arsenal when it targeted consumer products.
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