September 8 2017 — The Senate Intelligence Committee has approved a bill classifying WikiLeaks as a “non-state hostile intelligence service.” Phillip Giraldi, former CIA officer and counter-terrorism specialist, explains how this is “like going to war” and that he “would not rule out assassinations.” Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: SWEDEN — Julian Assange Case Dropped. Kind of…
UPDATE (September 28 2021) — In 2017, CIA director Mike Pompeo and the agency top officials discussed abducting and/or assassinating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Pompeo and the CIA leadership “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7”, Yahoo News reported.
On several occasions, I have wondered how well the US president is informed on CIA operations. This case makes it very clear. Mike Pompeo, the then CIA director, did not want Donald Trump to be fully briefed about Vault 7.
“They were seeing blood. There seemed to be no boundaries,” a former senior counter-terrorist official was quoted as saying.
Pompeo and Gina Haspel wanted revenge for the embarrassment Vault 7 had caused to the agency. The obvious questions were rather simple. Is it possible to kill Assange? Is it legal?
“When Pompeo declared WikiLeaks a non-state hostile intelligence service, he was neither speaking off the cuff nor repeating a phrase concocted by a CIA speechwriter. That phrase was chosen advisedly and reflected the view of the administration.”
And here is the explanation…
“Usually, for U.S. intelligence to secretly interfere with the activities of any foreign actor, the president must sign a document called a “finding” that authorizes such covert action, which must also be briefed to the House and Senate intelligence committees. In very sensitive cases, notification is limited to Congress’s so-called Gang of Eight — the four leaders of the House and Senate, plus the chairperson and ranking member of the two committees.
But there is an important carveout. Many of the same actions, if taken against another spy service, are considered “offensive counterintelligence” activities, which the CIA is allowed to conduct without getting a presidential finding or having to brief Congress, according to several former intelligence officials.
Often, the CIA makes these decisions internally, based on interpretations of so-called “common law” passed down in secret within the agency’s legal corps. “I don’t think people realize how much [the] CIA can do under offensive [counterintelligence] and how there is minimal oversight of it,” said a former official.”
Intelligence professionals should never act out of a desire for revenge. And yet, this case demonstrates abundantly clearly that Pompeo and Haspel acted foolishly because Wikileaks had exposed the incompetence of the agency.
This case had at best little, perhaps even nothing, to do with the US national security. [Note] It was entirely about ego. The CIA is almost 75 years old, and yet the agency still shows clear signs of emotional immaturity.
PS — Does anyone remember that Mike Pompeo once loved WikiLeaks?
NOTE — Of course, there is always the possibility that journalists have overlooked the importance of a single document. That has happened before in the famous case of the Snowden’s files.
END of UPDATE
On July 11 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo was the keynote speaker at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) dinner, and was afterward interviewed by Charlie Allen, a senior intelligence adviser at INSA.
Director Pompeo talked about his goals for the CIA and national security threats, including ISIS, North Korea and Iran. Other topics included Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and his views on WikiLeaks.
The CIA Director described as a non-state hostile Intelligence Service “that recruits spies and reward people who steal secrets and use that information to subvert western democracies.”
And now, the 2018 US intelligence authorization bill uses exactly the same words! It makes you wonder who actually writes the law in the US?
Blast from the Past
It may be hard to believe today, but Pompeo was once a fan of WikiLeaks!
Mr. Pompeo’s view of WikiLeaks is hardly unique for a senior American intelligence official. But his decision to focus on the group in his debut on Washington’s think-tank circuit as C.I.A. director was the latest sign that neither Mr. Trump nor many of his most senior officials consider themselves beholden to statements they made or stances they took in the presidential campaign, whether they be on WikiLeaks or on allegations of Chinese currency manipulation.
To be sure, Mr. Pompeo never went as far in praising WikiLeaks as Mr. Trump, who declared in a speech on Oct. 10, “I love WikiLeaks!”
But Mr. Pompeo, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an independent research group, appeared to have no compunction during the campaign about pointing people toward emails stolen by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and then posted by WikiLeaks. [NYT]
What’s a “non-state hostile intelligence service”?
“Non-state hostile intelligence service” has no technical meaning — what would stop an outlet like the New York Times (or all of its peers and competitors) from being deemed the same based on its reporting of the same hacked emails?
What exactly is the legal status of a “non-state hostile intelligence service”? Would donating to WikiLeaks be considered providing material aid to an enemy?
What of the many reputable journalists who’ve worked with WikiLeaks in the past, from the New York Times to Der Spiegel? Are they now guilty of having collaborated with a “non-state hostile intelligence service”?
Were WikiLeaks to publish another truly groundbreaking and valuable release along the line of Manning’s, what then? Would journalists be free to glean stories from this enemy spy agency?
There aren’t any answers to these questions, making the language all risk with little upshot of reforming or changing Assange or WikiLeaks in any meaningful way. [The Intercept]
What do you think?
Do you believe that WikiLeaks is “non-state hostile intelligence service”? Tell us what you think!
US goes to war with WikiLeaks
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