Speaking at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic & International Studies, CIA Director Mike Pompeo blasted Julian Assange and Edward Snowden and dubbed Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service.”
Pompeo said he found the celebration of Wikileaks to be “perplexing and deeply troubling.” “While we do our best to quietly collect information on those who pose very real threats to our country, individuals such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden seek to use that information to make a name for themselves,” he said. He continued, “As long as they make a splash they care nothing about the lives they put at risk or the damage they cause to national security.
“Wikileaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific, secret information. And it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support from anti-Democratic countries and organizations.”
“It’s time to call out Wikileaks for what it really is,” Pompeo said, “a non-state, hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”
Pompeo went on to criticize a piece written by Assange and published by the Washington Post Tuesday. In that piece Assange wrote of his love for America:
Vested interests deflect from the facts that WikiLeaks publishes by demonizing its brave staff and me. We are mischaracterized as America-hating servants to hostile foreign powers. But in fact I harbor an overwhelming admiration for both America and the idea of America. WikiLeaks’ sole interest is expressing constitutionally protected truths, which I remain convinced is the cornerstone of the United States’ remarkable liberty, success and greatness.
So, in his own view, Assange is making America great again. Today Pompeo replied saying, “Assange claims to harbor an overwhelming admiration for both America and the idea of America but I assure you this man knows nothing of America and our ideals.” He added, “I’m quite confident that had Assange been around in the 30s and the 40s and the 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history.”