The documents in the WikiLeaks Vault 7 data dump may have accidentally been confirmed as authentic CIA documents due to a statement by the US government.
The International Business Times reports that the US Department of Justice wants to keep the leaked alleged CIA files from appearing in an unrelated court case because they supposedly contain classified material. The implication of such a claim is that the files are in fact authentic. The court case in question relates to Playpen, a dark web child porn website run by the FBI in an attempt to collect data on pedophiles.
A recent filing from the case stated that when public defender Colin Fieman attempted to submit a portion of the WikiLeaks’ CIA documents into court, his attempts were blocked by the US government. Fieman reportedly attempted to use the documents to argue that even a full search and evaluation of the defendant’s computer would not help to reveal whether or not someone had planted child pornography on the suspects’ system, as the US government has “the ability to hack into a computer without leaving any trace.”
However, the US government denied the inclusion of the WikiLeaks documents in the case. District Judge Robert J. Bryan reports in the court filing: “In response, the Government requested that the proposed exhibits be excluded from trial because of their classified content.” Speaking to Motherboard, National security attorney Bradley P. Moss said, “The government is not able to declare non-government records as classified, unless they are taking ownership of the records themselves.”
Moss continued, “Based solely on the language in the Court’s order, I would argue that the Government (whether deliberately or unwittingly) confirmed the authenticity of the specific documents produced by the defendants.” Motherboard also reached out to WikiLeaks for comment on the situation, which stated, “If you bet against Wikileaks over authentication you are going to lose.”
Patrick Toomey, an American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney, said, “What’s troubling in this case and others is that the government seems to want to have it both ways. It refuses to officially confirm the authenticity of documents published in the press, but it then relies on the fact that the documents are classified in order to bar defendants and others from relying on these publicly available materials in court.”
Peter Carrs, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, said, “The government lawyers in the case had no knowledge of, and therefore were in no position to confirm in any way the authenticity of the defendant’s supplemental exhibits that were provided to them without prior notice. They did, however, express concern to the court that some of the documents might be classified based solely on the markings on some of the documents.”