New CIA Director
Labels WikiLeaks ‘Non-State Hostile Intelligence Service’
April 14, 2017
The new U.S. spy chief blasted the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks in his
first public comments, labeling it a hostile intelligence organization
out to damage the United States as much as any terrorist organization.
“It overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support
from anti-democratic countries and organizations,” he added, calling the
celebration of WikiLeaks in some circles “perplexing and deeply
Pompeo went as far as to lambast WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a
“darling” of terrorist groups, saying a member of al-Qaida in the
Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) recently thanked Assange on social media for
“providing a means to fight America in a way that AQAP had not
Pompeo’s remarks to an audience at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington are consistent with previous
comments from the U.S. intelligence community.
Relationship with Russia
A declassified report issued in January concluded with “high confidence”
there was an ongoing relationship between Russian intelligence and
The same report also said Russia’s own propaganda outlet, RT, “has
actively collaborated with WikiLeaks” dating back to a 2013 meeting
between Assange and RT’s editor in chief.
Despite such findings, U.S. President Donald Trump has until recently
downplayed talk of what intelligence officials have described as a
Russian campaign to influence last year’s presidential election.
During the presidential campaign itself, Trump went as far to tell
supporters, “I love WikiLeaks,” while encouraging the group to uncover
Trump changes tone
But Trump’s tone changed following WikiLeaks’ release last month of what
it described more than 8,000 classified CIA documents.
“This is the kind of disclosure that undermines our security, our
country and our well-being,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told
reporters at the time, adding the president was “extremely concerned.”
Pompeo Thursday refused to comment specifically on the WikiLeaks dump
known as “Vault 7,” but said damage had been done.
he warned that WikiLeaks is only one of several hostile intelligence
operations masquerading as anti-secrecy advocates.
“It’s much bigger than that. 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. “They have now found a model.”
“Our defense will not be static,” he said, citing strong support from
the Trump administration. “We need to be as clever and innovative as the
enemies we face.”
Earlier this week, WikiLeaks’ Assange published a defense of his
organization in The Washington Post, saying its motive was to “to
publish newsworthy content … irrespective of whether sources came by
that truth legally or have the right to release it to the media.”
Assange, an Australian citizen, is wanted in Sweden to face rape
allegations. He has been living under asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in
London since 2012.