The Trump administration flips on yet another issue.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo has accused WikiLeaks of siding with the world’s dictators and endangering the security of the “free world”.
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In his first public appearance since taking his post in the Trump administration, Pompeo called the whistleblower organization a “non-state hostile intelligence service” abetted by state actors like Russia.
“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia” he said.
He also called Julian Assange and his associates “demons”, making it clear that he regards Assange as dangerous to the US as any other terrorist organization.
Speaking at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC on Thursday, the former Kansas congressman went on the warpath against the whistleblower website, accusing its editor Julian Assange of being on the “wrong side of history” and seeking to harm America, freedom and democracy.
“It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo told the audience.
“The Russian propaganda outlet RT actively collaborated with WikiLeaks,” Pompeo added, repeating the unsubstantiated allegation by Hillary Clinton’s campaign from October 2016, when RT reported on the daily disclosures of emails from Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.
Assange “knows nothing about America and our ideals,” Pompeo declared, adding that had he lived in the 1930s he would have been on the “wrong side of history,” as he “and his ilk make common cause with dictators today.”
“Their currency is clickbait, their moral compass nonexistent,” Pompeo added, accusing Assange of being a “narcissist… a fraud, a coward hiding behind a screen.”
The CIA director rejected Assange’s reasoning that WikiLeaks had the right to publish documents that WikiLeaks obtained, arguing that the right to free speech does not apply to non-Americans.
“Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms,” Pompeo said. “He’s sitting in an embassy in London. He’s not a US citizen.”
Note, subtext of Pompeo’s statement that Assange doesn’t have 1A rights is that no non-American reporters do.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) April 13, 2017
“These are not reporters doing good work, to try and keep the American government honest, but people actively recruiting agents to steal American secrets with the sole intent of destroying the American way of life,” he added. “No one has the right to actively engage in the theft of secrets from America with the intent to do harm to it.”
This is a marked departure from President Donald Trump’s position on WikiLeaks during the campaign, and even Pompeo’s own tweets while he was a member of the House of Representatives from Kansas, as some observant journalists pointed out.
Mike Pompeo was sharing Wikileaks documents on his Congressional Twitter account less than a year ago pic.twitter.com/cl5P6vnXSE
— Jessica Schulberg (@jessicaschulb) April 13, 2017
— marina portnaya (@portnayanyc) April 13, 2017