CIA Director Mike Pompeo denounced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a "narcissist" who works in concert with Russian Federation, relying on "the dirty work of others to make him famous".
Last month, WikiLeaks released almost 8,000 documents that it says reveals secrets about the CIA's cyberespionage tools for breaking into targeted computers, cellphones and even smart TVs.
In his first speech as director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, the former Republican congressman who once applauded disclosures by WikiLeaks, attacked the group Thursday as a stateless hostile intelligence unit eager to do the bidding of Russian Federation and other U.S. adversaries. He denounced Assange, who calls himself a champion of transparency in government, as a "narcissist" and a "fraud - a coward hiding behind a screen".
Pompeo also criticized Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who fled overseas in 2013 and divulged a series of secret NSA programs that alienated even leaders of close USA allies, who learned that they were targets of electronic surveillance.
In response to a question, Pompeo disputed Russia's account of a chemical weapons attack in Syria that prompted retaliatory cruise missile strikes by Trump last week.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo discussed North Korea in a forum on national security, which was hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies on Thursday.
Mike Pompeo said it was time to "call out" Wikileaks for what it actually is: a "non-state, hostile intelligence service" that is being supported by Russian Federation. But his harshest comments were reserved for people like former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who in 2014 passed top-secret information on domestic United States surveillance efforts to journalists, and sites like Wikileaks.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for the director of the CIA, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is sworn in at his confirmation hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee on January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Pompeo referenced the intelligence community's report on Thursday, but made no mention of Moscow's apparent preference for Trump over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Virginia, August 14, 2008.
Here were Pompeo's full comments Monday.
WikiLeaks embarrassed the U.S. intelligence agency last month by leaking its confidential documents. Perhaps most damningly, he repeatedly asserted that the organization acts like "a non-state, hostile intelligence service". "Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today", Pompeo said.
Pompeo's speech on Thursday follows a series of damaging leaks of highly sensitive CIA and National Security Agency material.
In March, WikiLeaks published "thousands of pages describing sophisticated software tools and techniques used by the [CIA] to break into smartphones, computers and even Internet-connected televisions", the New York Times reported.