CIA Director Mike Pompeo called Julian Assange and his associates “demons” and accused WikiLeaks of siding with the world’s dictators and endangering the security of the “free world” with the help of states like Russia.
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.
CIA Dir. Pompeo just called Wikileaks “a non-state hostile intelligence service”.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 13, 2017
“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.”
“These are not reporters doing good work, trying to keep American politicians honest” but hostile intelligence operatives working with the intent “to destroy the American way of life,” he added. “No one has the right to steal secrets from America with intent to do it harm.”
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
Pompeo confirmed that it was his agency that concluded that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, which persuaded Trump to fire 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase last week.
“We were good, and fast,” he said, “and we got it right.”
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