CIA Director Mike Pompeo has denounced the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks as a “hostile intelligence service” and a threat to U.S. national security, a condemnation that differed sharply from President Donald Trump’s past praise of the organization.
In his first public speech since becoming taking over the CIA, the former Republican congressman escalated the agency’s hostility to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, accusing them of making common cause with dictators. While “Assange and his ilk” claim they act in the name of liberty and privacy, Pompeo said that in reality, their mission is “personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.”
“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” Pompeo said Thursday.
Pompeo’s tone was notably different from that of his boss.
Before last year’s presidential election, Trump said he was happy to see WikiLeaks publish private, politically damaging emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta. The White House defended the president, saying there was a big difference between WikiLeaks publishing stolen, personal emails of a political figure and publishing files about national security tools used by the CIA.
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