The logo of the CIA is seen during a visit ofUS President Donald Trump the CIA headquarters on January 21, 2017 in Langley, Virginia .
He also criticized Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked documents revealing widespread U.S. government surveillance programs. Snowden currently lives in Russia. Assange, an Australian, has resided the last four years in Ecuador’s embassy in London. He received political asylum after skipping bail to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted over a rape allegation.
“While we do our best to quietly collect information on those who possess very real threats to our country, individuals like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden seek to use that information to make a name for themselves,” Pompeo said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. “As long as they make a splash, they care nothing about the lives they put at risk or the damage they cause to national security.”
In an opinion piece published Wednesday in The Washington Post, Assange defended his disclosures, which he depicted as “truths regarding overreaches and abuses conducted in secret by the powerful.”
“Our most recent disclosures describe the CIA’s multibillion-dollar cyberwarfare program in which the agency created dangerous cyber weapons, targeted private companies’ consumer products and then lost control of its cyber arsenal,” Assange wrote.
Pompeo did not confirm the cyberespionage tools released by WikiLeaks belonged to the agency. Since the disclosure, the U.S. government has all but publicly accepted the embarrassing claim. Trump said in an interview: “I just want people to know the CIA was hacked, and a lot of things taken.”
On Monday, a California-based computer security company said the tools disclosed by WikiLeaks have been linked to 40 spying operations in 16 countries. Symantec Corp. linked them to electronic infiltration of international, financial, energy and aerospace organizations across the world.