The director of the CIA claimed Thursday that Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange are acting as a hostile foreign intelligence agency that jeopardizes U.S. national security.
Mike Pompeo said it was time to “call out” Wikileaks for what it actually is: a “non-state, hostile intelligence service” that is being supported by Russia.
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“Wikileaks walks like a hostile intelligence service, and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” said the director in an address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Thursday.
Pompeo claimed that Wikileaks has ties to the Russian domestic intelligence service, known as the GRU.
The CIA director said that Assange is not the slightest bit interested in progressing liberty. Instead, he is only trying to expand his own celebrity. He referred to Assange as a “fraud” and a “coward hiding behind a screen.”
Pompeo added that even some of Assange’s former colleagues have cast doubt on his actions, and that if the group was truly interested in promoting human rights, they would focus on the world’s many dictators.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula thanked Wikileaks for its revelations of confidential U.S. information, according to the director.
Pompeo also called out former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for endangering U.S. national security, and for running to Russia after leaking thousands of classified documents.
The director said the U.S. must “undercut the danger” posed by Wikileaks, Assange and others like them.
The first step, according to Pompeo, is to call these groups out for what they are, just like he did Thursday.
Second, he said the U.S. must do a better job at home securing “our own stuff.” He explained that the Snowden threat has not abated, and that while U.S. enemies will not relent, nor will the CIA.
Third, he said that the U.S. cannot allow Assange and his colleagues to use free speech against American national security.
Finally, Pompeo said that the CIA must continue to ensure trust between the agency and the public. He said that no one should be expected to trust the government “blindly,” and that while the CIA may not be able to share everything it does, it can do a better job being more transparent to the U.S. citizenry.