CIA Director Mike Pompeo had harsh words for WikiLeaks while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies today, implying that the whistleblowing group was a “hostile intelligence service.”
TechCrunch reports that Pompeo was quite open about his disdain for the whistleblowing service following their recent publishing of CIA hacking tools as part of their “Vault 7” leaks. Pompeo stated during his speech,
It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia. In January of this year, our Intelligence Community determined that Russian military intelligence — the GRU — had used WikiLeaks to release data of US victims that the GRU had obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee. And the report also found that Russia’s primary propaganda outlet, RT, has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.
Pompeo then compared Julian Assange’s refusal to censor the content that WikiLeaks publishes with Edward Snowdens more careful and measured approach to leaking information. Pompeo also vaguely linked both men to Russia,
When Snowden absconded to the comfortable clutches of Russian intelligence, his treachery directly harmed a wide range of US intelligence and military operations. Despite what he claims, he is no whistleblower. True whistleblowers use the well-established and discreet processes in place to voice grievances; they do not put American lives at risk.
Pompeo then openly described his plan to fight back against whistleblowers such as WikiLeaks, stating that he will firstly “[call] out those who grant a platform to these leakers and so-called transparency activists,” this could be interpreted many ways but may imply that publications that report on or interview WikiLeaks members could be under threat.
Secondly, Pompeo plans to improve “internal mechanisms” for counterintelligence, to be “as clever and innovative as the enemies we face.” Thirdly, Pompeo stated that “we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.”
Pompeo also threw out a general list of insults about Assange throughout the speech including,
- “Assange is the darling of terrorists.”
- “Assange is a narcissist who has created nothing of value.”
- “[His] currency is clickbait; [his] moral compass, nonexistent.”
- “I am quite confident that had Assange been around in the 1930s and 40s and 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history.”
Of course, this did not seem to always be Pompeo’s opinion of Assange and WikiLeaks, only a year ago the CIA Director tweeted out a link to the hacked DNC emails published by WikiLeaks,
Mike Pompeo was sharing Wikileaks documents on his Congressional Twitter account less than a year ago pic.twitter.com/cl5P6vnXSE
— Jessica Schulberg (@jessicaschulb) April 13, 2017
Pompeo also stated during his speech that he wishes to deepen the trust between the CIA and the American people. One way this could be achieved is by being more open and transparent, yet it seems that right now Pompeo is more interested in shutting down organizations such as WikiLeaks which currently provide the only window into the inner workings of government bodies such as the CIA.