Last Friday (Mar. 10), I talked about the more than 8,700 classified CIA documents released by Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, whose stated mission “…is to bring important news and information to the public.”
On March 9, The New York Times reported that Assange “…fresh from revealing the largest leak of classified documents in CIA history… tried to turn the table on his critics, presenting himself as a defender [emphasis added] of the United States’ top technology companies form overreaching, double-dealing American spies.
“The 8,000 CIA documents that WikiLeaks made public… the first installment in a far larger collection, Mr. Assange said – showed that the agency had found flaws in the most popular products of the internet age: iPhones, Android phones, software used in ever office and even internet-connected televisions. But instead of alerting the companies so they could plug the security holes, the agency exploited the weaknesses to carry out cyber-spying around the world.
“So Mr. Assange… offered a lifeline to the companies, saying the antisecrecy organization was prepared to share leaked computer code that it has not yet published with Apple, Google and other technology companies to help them fix the flaws described in the leaked CIA documents.
“ ‘We have decided to work with them to give them some exclusive access to the additional technical details we have, so that fixes can be developed and pushed out so people can be secured,’ Assange said.
“The companies,” The Times reports, “reacted cautiously to the WikiLeaks offer, saying there could be legal complications in accepting classified information stolen from the government.”
In a statement, the CIA made clear that its spy activities are restricted by law to foreigners and foreign countries. Americans were legally out of bounds.
“ ‘As we’ve said previously,’ the statement from The Times reports, ‘Julian Assange is not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity. …Despite the efforts of Assange and his ilk, CIA continues to aggressively collect foreign intelligence overseas to protect America from terrorists, hostile nation states and other adversaries.’ …
“Paul Kocher, a cryptographer who was previously an executive at the chip company Rambus, said that helping companies patch security holes was accepted practice in the industry.
“ ‘There are lots of things at WikiLeaks that are ethically questionable,” Mr. Kocher said. ‘But the normal thing to do if you come across vulnerabilities, regardless of who’s using them is to help them get fixed.’ ”
On Sunday (Mar. 12), journalist Fareed Zakaria made a cogent observation about Assange and WikiLeaks on his CNN show GPS (Global Public Square). His concerns appeared in a March 9 commentary in The Washington Post.
“The WikiLeaks revelations are designed to uncover and cripple U.S. intelligence operations of any kind, against any foe — including Russia, China, the Islamic State or al-Qaeda. WikiLeaks claims to be devoted to exposing and undermining centralized power, yet it has never revealed anything about the intelligence — or domestic policing — operations of the Russian or Chinese governments, both highly centralized dictatorships with extensive and advanced cyber-intelligence units. Indeed, WikiLeaks has chosen as its obsessive target the United States, which probably has more democratic oversight of its intelligence agencies than any other major power does.”
“Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people. Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society’s institutions, including government, corporations and other organizations. A healthy, vibrant and inquisitive journalistic media plays a vital role in achieving these goals.”
Leaked documents from Russia, Zero; leaked documents from China, Zero.
From the time he leaked thousands of secret documents, known as the Iraq War Logs, supplied by Chelsea Manning in 2010, to former CIA contractor Edward Snowden, to hundreds of e-mails leaked from Clinton campaign chair, John Podesta, Assange has proven beyond any doubt that he cannot be trusted, and that his central goal is to destabilize U.S. policy and credibility.
As Zakaria rightly points out, Assange is “the real national security menace.”