Wikileaks a 'non-state, hostile intelligence service' An error occurred — CIA Director

"WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service and has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence", Pompeo said during the discussion on national security.

"I am quite confident that had Assange been around in the 1930s and 40s and 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history", Pompeo said. "We've helped unravel the nuclear smuggling network used by A Q Khan, assisted in exposing a covert nuclear facility in Syria, and gathered intelligence - with the help of our liaison partners - that persuaded Libya to abandon its nuclear programme", he said in his first major policy speech after he became the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Finally, Pompeo said that the CIA must continue to ensure trust between the agency and the public.

Still, in perhaps the most remarkable moments of Pompeo's speech, he called the Washington Post and the New York Times "legitimate news organizations" and went on to cite criticism of Assange published on the Intercept, one of the most US government-hostile publications of all. "It's the reason it's such a hard nut to crack and why previous administrations have frankly not done so, but it's fallen to us this time where they're close and President Trump has said very clearly we have an obligation to prevent that from occurring", he said. Thousands of those emails were subsequently released by WikiLeaks.

During the presidential election, however, Pompeo espoused a different line on WikiLeaks.

Pompeo said "there is no quick fix" to the challenge posed by WikiLeaks and other "hostile non-state intelligence agencies", adding that addressing the problem would be a long-term project.

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Pompeo said past administrations had been "squeamish" about going after people who published secrets he considered harmful to the US. The White House abruptly adopted a tough stance on Russia's alliance with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad following Assad's use of chemical weapons against civilians last week. Russian Federation has argued that the chemical release, which killed more than 70 people, came after warplanes targeted a rebel chemical weapons storage facility, claims the White House has thoroughly debunked.

"Russia is now on their sixth or seventh story, none of which has an ounce of truth to it", he said, referring to Moscow's denials.

Pompeo's remarks have ended the speculations on the rift between Trump and intelligence officials. Dan Coats, has been publicly critical of the Kremlin and its geopolitical posturing, ostensibly putting both men at odds with the commander in chief. The intelligence community has concluded this operation was mounted with Vladimir Putin's approval and was done to benefit Donald Trump.

The former Kansas congressman renewed the intelligence community's attacks on Edward Snowden.

As CIA director speaking at CSIS on Thursday, he was considerably less outspoken about his issues with the Iran deal, but did say Iranians were "on the march" and cited missile launches, their support of the Houthis in Yemen and military involvement in Iraq in the past two years.


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