Wikileaks latest trove of documents, which allegedly show technical details of the Central Intelligence Agency’s hacking arsenal, may neuter U.S. abilities to conduct cyber-offensive operations.
The CIA would not officially comment on the matter, but an intelligence source confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that at least some of the documents appear to be accurate. The source continued that the revelation has the potential to be more damaging than the 2013 leaks by Edward Snowden.
Snowden himself characterized the new release as appearing “genuine” and a “big deal.”
This tranche of Wikileaks documents contains highly technical details, which can be used by an expert adversary against future CIA hacking. Wikileaks say they will not publish the source code until a “consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA’s program and how such ‘weapons’ should analyzed, disarmed and published.”
Cybersecurity expert David Kennedy took to twitter to note that the revelations severely damage potential U.S. cyber operations.
Wikileaks actions are “extremely aggressive,” Kennedy continues, given that such actions really hurt U.S. operations against “true hostiles.” The release of the information “burns” U.S. capabilities globally, and is characteristic of similar actions by U.S. strategic adversaries, Kennedy says.
Though Wikileaks refused to name the source, it claimed that the source “wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.” Wikileaks claimed the same thing during the 2016 presidential election with respect to the Democratic National Committee leaks.
Despite Wikileaks’ claim, the Office of the Director Of National Intelligence concluded in October that the Russian government hacked U.S. institutions and disseminated the information to Wikileaks.
Joshua Foust, a National Security Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, noted as early as early as 2013 in “War is Boring,” that Wikileaks had stark connections to Russian intelligence agencies. Wikileaks head, Julian Assange, was a paid contributor to RT, a well-known Kremlin-backed propaganda outlet. Former NSA analyst John Schindler also noted in 2015 that Assange reportedly told Snowden “he would be protected by Vladimir Putin and his secret services, notably the FSB.”
“That Assange and Wikileaks are surrogates for Putin is now obvious,” Schindler elaborated.
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