Just the other day, CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu refused to comment on the authenticity of the over 8000 documents that were purportedly gleaned from the CIA by WikiLeaks. However, Liu did say there was little doubt that the intention behind the dumping of all the information was to undermine the American intelligence community’s ability to protect Americans from terrorism.
Anyone who has been following along in the strange triangle that includes Donald Trump, WikiLeaks and the Russians, can’t help but see the growing mountain of evidence that points to the fact that this Julian Assange backed website is really nothing more than an arm of the Russian intelligence community. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden even went so far as to agree with those who say WikiLeaks is operating as an arm of Russian intelligence. He made the claims himself on CNN recently.
Of course, everyone can agree that compromising American security is a bad idea but having the president of the United States apparently fostering some kind of relationship with somebody who might be working for one of our long-time adversaries is clearly a situation that needs to be dealt with as well.
The latest dump is about the CIA’s hacking tools which can purportedly listen to your conversations through mobile devices and your home television. It has even brought the Washington security establishment into the fray. The Guardian online newspaper recently reported that many of these policymakers on Capitol Hill are increasingly viewing these episodes as an intelligence battle between the Russians and our country, with Julian Assange seen by more and more of these policymakers as firmly in the corner with Moscow.
Influence The Election
To make matters worse, there is an open feud between the Trump administration and the U.S. intelligence services over Russian attempts to influence the election in Trump’s favor. One of the cornerstones of this entire feud, and one of the big reasons that it is so important, is the fact that Trump has implied some of the tools mentioned in the WikiLeaks dump could very well be the same Obama was alleged to have used to spy on Trump’s offices.
The Umbrage group of the CIA is allegedly able to use hacking and spying techniques and then point blame at the fingerprints of other countries and their software. The biggest problem with WikiLeaks is its dramatic and undeniable shift away from being the antiwar proponents they were circa 2010 when elite American military documents from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were exposed. Its ties to the present administration became clear during the run up to November, and the fact that Assange is working closely with if not for the Russians is more evident all the time.
For example, during the presidential election, WikiLeaks focused almost entirely on Hillary Clinton and that one strategic high point which was a release of thousands of hacked emails. Just two months ago in January, the three major United States intelligence gathering organizations including the NSA and CIA as well as the FBI reported that they had high confidence Russians were behind the data which was stolen from high-ranking Democrats.
Susan Hennessey, a former NSA lawyer now at the Brookings Institution, has even gone on record stating clearly that it was no coincidence the Russians selected WikiLeaks to release the hacked emails from the presidential campaign. Rumors persist the Russian government favors WikiLeaks because of its claims of authenticity. When you add to the fact that nothing has ever been published on the site that defames the Russians, you can see evidence mounting for those who say Assange is actually working with the Kremlin.
All this information makes the president’s relationship to WikiLeaks even more disturbing. Is it just a coincidence that Trump accused former President Obama of basically wiretapping him and just three days later WikiLeaks dumps a massive amount of material about wiretapping and spying? It’s even more concerning if you take the position that Trump is an unwitting dupe and that the Russians are really pulling the levers behind WikiLeaks in attempts to undermine the West and our democracy.
Let’s consider a few facts. First and foremost, if you take an objective look at things you’ll see that WikiLeaks times its releases to coincide with major political events. It was only three days before the Democratic national convention in 2016 that the website released 20,000 damaging, albeit stolen, emails. WikiLeaks was also behind the emails that had DNC staffers disparaging Bernie Sanders which handed another major blow to the Clinton campaign.
Perhaps the best commentary on this latest intelligence fiasco should be handed to the journalists at Wired. They wrote recently about the suspicious timing of these latest WikiLeaks dumps considering the fact that the capital is in chaos and this most recent development makes it hard for aficionados of intelligence gathering to know exactly what’s going on. What’s worse, it allows all the rest of us non-experts to see what we think of as the light of truth in this mishmash of hard to decipher information.
Need some final convincing that more and more credible organizations are seeing a nefarious tie between WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence? Consider a recent article from the National Review which even has a former NSA counterintelligence officer reiterating his claims that Julian Assange’s organization is really just a front for Russian Intelligence operations. John Schindler has argued for years that WikiLeaks is just an arm of the GRU and that kind of claim is resounding more and more and getting harder and harder to ignore.
So here’s the bottom line. The more WikiLeaks makes American intelligence look like a leaky vessel, the better Russian intelligence looks. Although not all of our allies will be affected by this latest fiasco, the British made a good point recently. If American intelligence operations are seen as porous, they will be less likely to go ahead and that will hurt our national security and relationship with our allies.
That WikiLeaks is intent on creating division between American intelligence and our counterparts in places like Germany or discord in any Western alliance is clearly a Russian priority.