WikiLeak’s Julian Assange said Thursday that he may be open to releasing more CIA documents in the future, with just one caveat, per NBC News.
“We have quite a lot of exploits that we want to disarm before publishing,” Assange said, describing the potential dangers of releasing certain information that WikiLeaks claims to possess. Certain CIA cyber assets that WikiLeaks claims to have obtained could be used to wreak havoc in the hands of the wrong people.
But Assange made sure to preemptively lay any blame for negative consequences of the actions taken by WikiLeaks on the CIA, saying that the agency “didn’t secure [their cyber weapons], lost control of it and then appears to have covered up that fact.”
Assange claimed that keeping control of cyber weapons after they’ve been developed is an impossible task, saying, “if you build them, eventually you will lose them.” He further warned that the CIA’s cyber exploits “may also be in black market or used by American hackers who cross both sides of the fence.”
The CIA has a longstanding policy of declining to comment on the authenticity of stolen documents, but NBC News was able to confirm the authenticity of some of Tuesday’s WikiLeaks release with a senior intelligence official. Because of the sheer size of WikiLeaks’ document dumps, it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to authenticate the entirety of their releases. The latest dump was comprised of 8,761 documents purporting to show “the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.”
One of the most heavily focused-on aspects of the latest release from WikiLeaks was a section detailing the CIA’s ability to mask cyberattacks to resemble techniques used by other nations. This quickly spiraled into allegations that the CIA had hacked the DNC while masquerading as the Russians, a conspiracy theory that has yet to be substantiated with any direct evidence.Image Credit: Getty Images/Carl Court
In response to Tuesday’s document dump, the CIA warned of the possible dangers in a written release, which read, in part:
“The American public should be deeply troubled by any WikiLeaks disclosure designed to damage the Intelligence Community’s ability to protect America against terrorists and other adversaries.
Such disclosures not only jeopardize U.S. personnel and operations, but also equip adversaries with tools and information to do us harm.”
The agency also clarified that it is prohibited by law from monitoring American citizens and that its mission continues to be “to aggressively collect foreign intelligence overseas to protect America.”
United States Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) also commented on the latest release, telling NBC News that Assange is “an enemy of the American people and an ally to Vladimir Putin,” adding that Assange has “dedicated his life’s work to endangering innocent lives, abetting despots, and stoking a crisis of confidence in the West.”
Julian Assange currently resides in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has attempted to evade extradition to Sweden to face rape charges. Assange disputes those charges, but has remained inside the embassy since 2012. Although he claims innocence to the charges, extradition to Sweden could lead to his extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of espionage.