Six months ago, President Trump praised WikiLeaks saying that he “loved” them. On Thursday, the President’s CIA Director, Mike Pompeo said “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it is.” Pompeo continued to vent with intensity, WikiLeaks is a “non-state, hostile intelligence service that is often abetted by state actors like Russia. WikiLeaks walks like a foreign intelligence agency and talks like a foreign intelligence agency.”
The CIA Director then harshly criticized WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, saying that he was a “fraud” and “a coward hiding behind a screen.” He also took a shot at National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden for focusing on “nothing but his own celebrity.” Pompeo promised, “Our defense will not be static” against WikiLeaks. “We need to be as clever and innovative as the enemies we face.”
It was early last month that WikiLeaks released thousands of documents that apparently detailed the hacking tools and techniques used by the CIA for foreign surveillance. It may have been the largest leak of CIA information in history. The CIA released a public statement, which is a rare occurrence, saying, “The American public should be deeply troubled by any WikiLeaks disclosure designed to damage the Intelligence Community’s ability to protect America against terrorists or other adversaries.”
It will be interesting to see how President Trump responds to the CIA Directors comments. When the president was a candidate, he advocated for WikiLeaks, praising their publishing of emails stolen by alleged Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. Most people remember Candidate Trump challenging WikiLeaks to find the emails that Hillary Clinton “lost.”
In January, the U.S. Intelligence Community concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered” the election hacking in an effort to undermine faith in America’s election process. In that report, it was said that WikiLeaks was aided by Russia’s state sponsored news agency, “Russia Today.” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange allegedly met with “Russia Today’s” editor-in-chief at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August of 2013. When WikiLeaks was daily releasing batches of emails stolen from John Podesta’s inbox, some journalist focused on the fact that “Russia Today” and “Sputnik” (another state run Russian news agency) frequently shared the leaked documents on Twitter before WikiLeaks dumped them.
Julian Assange defended his action in a statement saying, “The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks.” He continues to insist that neither he nor WikiLeaks had “a personal desire to influence the outcome of the election.”
How do you think President Trump will respond to his CIA Director’s recent criticism of WikiLeaks?
Credit: Business Insider