0108 GMT February 25, 2018
“The CIA is the world’s most dangerously incompetent spy agency. It has armed terrorists, destroyed democracies and installed and maintained dictatorships the world over,” Assange said in an email, as cited by RT on Tuesday.
“There are good men and women at the CIA but if our publications are any guide they work for WikiLeaks,” he added in a mocking response to statements made by CIA spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak about Assange.
Horniak had earlier said, “Dictators and terrorists have no better friend in the world than Julian Assange, as theirs is the only privacy he protects.”
RT had asked the CIA to comment on the assessment of former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who suggested that the capability to falsify digital fingerprints, exposed by WikiLeaks as part of its ongoing Vault 7 disclosure, cast doubt on allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Horniak’s comments came in response to that inquiry.
“Could it be that the ‘Russian hack’ was really done by John Brennan of the CIA? If I were asked to bet on that, then I would bet that that was exactly the case,” McGovern had said in an RT program, referring to the CIA’s former director.
Brennan’s successor, Mike Pompeo, hinted last month that WikiLeaks, which he described as “a non-state hostile intelligence service,” might be prosecuted for the publication of confidential US documents.
Meanwhile, former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden and more than 600 other figures have called on US President Donald Trump to drop a probe and any planned charges against Assange.
In an open letter on Monday, Snowden along with several hundred activists, government workers, and lawyers said that prosecuting Wikileaks and any of its members would be a “threat to all free journalism.”
“If the DOJ (the US Department of Justice) is able to convict a publisher for its journalistic work, all free journalism can be criminalized,” read the letter.
Although Trump stated during his 2016 campaign for presidency that he was a fan of WikiLeaks — the organization is believed to have helped his presidential bid by leaking rival Hillary Clinton’s emails — other members of his administration have targeted Assange.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last months that arresting Assange was a “priority.” He added, “We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks. This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of.”