June 26, 2017

CIA Director Mike Pompeo condemns WikiLeaks as 'hostile intelligence service'

14 April 2017, 02:45 | Leonard Manning

Defending against USA intelligence leaks such as those committed by Edward Snowden and Julian Assange's Wikileaks requires a "fundamental change" in the way that intelligence agencies deal with digital attacks and vulnerabilities, according to CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

"It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is - a non-state hostile intelligence service", Director Pompeo said, adding a claim that it is often aided by nations such as Russian Federation.

"Wikileaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service", Mr Pompeo said.

"We led efforts to develop the U-2 aircraft and orbiting satellites - endeavours that allowed us to surveil activities in rival states that were otherwise closed to us", Pompeo said. "It's much broader and deeper than that", Pompeo said, cautioning other state actors may seek to imitate Russia's use of WikiLeaks to strike at the U.S.

Even more embarrassing, though, is that then-Representative Pompeo himself actively promoted WikiLeaks releases on his Congressional Twitter account just past year.

Pompeo Thursday refused to comment specifically on the WikiLeaks dump known as "Vault 7", but said damage had been done.

"They try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and in the language of liberty and privacy, but in reality, they champion nothing but their own celebrity".

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WikiLeaks played a central role in the 2016 presidential race when it published emails stolen through hacking the Democratic National Committee and later from John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Responding to a question about President Trump's relationship with the intelligence community, Pompeo said, "It's fantastic".

The director said the US must "undercut the danger" posed by Wikileaks, Assange and others like them.

Pompeo is the latest top official in the Trump administration to note that Russian Federation hacked into the emails of Democratic staffers with the intention of influencing the 2016 presidential election.

Assange, from Australia, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after allegations of rape in Sweden, which he denies.

US intelligence agencies have struggled to deal with "insider threats" - their own employees or contractors who steal classified materials and, in some cases, publicize them.

Pompeo also had harsh words for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Administration contractor who downloaded thousands of documents revealing some of the electronic eavesdropping agency's most sensitive programs and shared them with journalists. He said the CIA produced Al-Qaeda, referring to the agency's role in arming and training mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets during the 1970s, some of whom - including Osama Bin Laden - later evolved into Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. He said American intelligence also found that Russian state-owned television network RT actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.

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