CIA Director Mike Pompeo remains inconsolably hostile toward whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, insisting they are a “non-state hostile intelligence service” and are plotting to “take down America any way they can and find any willing partner to achieve that end.”
Hostility to WikiLeaks has been a mainstay in the US government, as every administration faces the prospect of their covert misdeeds becoming a matter of public record, to their general embarrassment albeit rarely to the end of any meaningful reform.
President Trump had a positive attitude toward WikiLeaks during last year’s campaign, declaring “I love WikiLeaks.”
Pompeo insists he doesn’t feel the same way, and that US intelligence agencies need to find ways to fight the organization.
“I don’t love WikiLeaks,” Mr. Pompeo said Thursday.
Pompeo argued that the US needs to use the Espionage Act much more in going after leakers who aren’t actually foreign spies, though he stopped short of openly endorsing Espionage prosecutions against journalists for reporting on the leaks.
“You said that we have to recognize that we can no longer let Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us,” New York Times columnist Bret Stephens asked Mr. Pompeo.
“What does that in your mind imply, legislatively or operationally? Should we be enforcing the Espionage Act much more?”
“Yes,” Mr. Pompeo responded without hesitation.
When asked if publishers and journalists should be prosecuted for using state secrets, Mr. Pompeo answered:
“There’s an old aphorism that says that the law is entitled to every man’s evidence, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Mr. Assange did not respond privately to requests for comment Thursday but reacted to Mr. Pompeo’s latest claim in a series of tweets.
“What sort of America can be ‘taken down’ by the truth?” he tweeted.