CIA chief: In­tel­li­gence leaks are on the rise

Prob­lem fu­eled by leaker wor­ship, he says

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY DEB RIECH­MANN

CIA Direc­tor Mike Pom­peo says he thinks dis­clo­sure of Amer­ica’s se­cret in­tel­li­gence is on the rise, fu­eled partly by the “wor­ship” of leak­ers like Ed­ward Snow­den.

“In some ways, I do think it’s ac­cel­er­ated,” Mr. Pom­peo told MSNBC in an in­ter­view that aired Satur­day. “I think there is a phe­nom­e­non, the wor­ship of Ed­ward Snow­den, and those who steal Amer­i­can se­crets for the pur­pose of self-ag­gran­dize­ment or money or for what­ever their mo­ti­va­tion may be, does seem to be on the in­crease.”

Mr. Pom­peo said the United States needs to re­dou­ble its ef­forts to stem leaks of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

“It’s tough. You now have not only na­tion states try­ing to steal our stuff, but non-state, hos­tile in­tel­li­gence ser­vices, well-funded — folks like Wik­iLeaks, out there try­ing to steal Amer­i­can se­crets for the sole pur­pose of un­der­min­ing the United States and democ­racy,” Mr. Pom­peo said.

Be­sides Snow­den, who leaked doc­u­ments re­veal­ing ex­ten­sive U.S. gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance, Wik­iLeaks re­cently re­leased nearly 8,000 doc­u­ments that it says re­veal se­crets about the CIA’s cy­beres­pi­onage tools for break­ing into com­put­ers.

Wik­iLeaks pre­vi­ously pub­lished 250,000 State Depart­ment ca­bles and em­bar­rassed the U.S. mil­i­tary with hun­dreds of thou­sands of logs from Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are sev­eral other re­cent cases, in­clud­ing Chelsea Man­ning, the Army pri­vate for­merly known as Bradley Man­ning. She was con­victed in a 2013 court­mar­tial of leak­ing more than 700,000 se­cret mil­i­tary and State Depart­ment doc­u­ments to Wik­iLeaks while work­ing as an in­tel­li­gence an­a­lyst in Iraq. Man­ning said she leaked the doc­u­ments to raise aware­ness about the war’s im­pact on in­no­cent civil­ians.

Last year, for­mer NSA con­trac­tor Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, of Glen Burnie, Mary­land, was ac­cused of re­mov­ing highly clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion, stor­ing it in an un­locked shed and in his car and home. Court doc­u­ments say in­ves­ti­ga­tors seized, con­ser­va­tively, 50 ter­abytes of in­for­ma­tion, or enough to fill roughly 200 lap­top com­put­ers.

Mr. Pom­peo said the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is fo­cused on stop­ping leaks of any kind from any agency and pur­su­ing per­pe­tra­tors: “I think we’ll have some suc­cesses both on the de­ter­rence side — that is stop­ping them from hap­pen­ing — as well as on pun­ish­ing those who we catch who have done it.”

On other is­sues, Mr. Pom­peo said:

● North Korea poses a “very real dan­ger” to U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity.

“I hardly ever es­cape a day at the White House with­out the pres­i­dent ask­ing me about North Korea and how it is that the United States is re­spond­ing to that threat. It’s very much at the top of his mind,” Mr. Pom­peo said.

He added that the North Kore­ans are “ever-closer to hav­ing the ca­pac­ity to hold Amer­ica at risk with a nu­clear weapon.”

● Mr. Pom­peo said U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity also is threat­ened by Iran, which he de­scribed as the world’s largest state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism.

“To­day, we find it with enor­mous in­flu­ence, in­flu­ence that far out­strips where it was six or seven years ago,” said the for­mer Repub­li­can con­gress­man from Kansas. “Whether it’s the in­flu­ence they have over the gov­ern­ment in Baghdad, whether it’s the in­creas­ing strength of Hezbol­lah and Le­banon, their work along­side the Houthis in Iran, the Iraqi Shias that are fight­ing along now the bor­der in Syria — cer­tainly the Shia forces that are en­gaged in Syria. Iran is ev­ery­where through­out the Mid­dle East.”

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