CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday ripped into anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, calling it a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted” by hostile countries like Russia.
“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service, and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” Pompeo said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in his first public remarks since becoming CIA chief.
Last year, U.S. intelligence officials dubbed WikiLeaks a middleman for Russian intelligence services after it published thousands of pilfered Democratic Party emails.
Pompeo, a former House lawmaker, also tore into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — whom he called, among other things, a “coward,” a “fraud” and a “narcissist” — as well as others who have leaked U.S. intelligence community secrets, such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.
Pompeo, who served on the House Intelligence Committee, said he chose to discuss those people because their efforts have “hindered” the intelligence community’s ability to protect the country. He said he wanted to make sure the American public “understood the threat they pose to us.”
He added that the U.S. government has “not done nearly enough” to take down non-state actors.
Pompeo declined to address the authenticity of CIA hacking tools that WikiLeaks has posted on its website. Experts and former intelligence officials have told POLITICO the documents appear legitimate.