The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has lambasted WikiLeaks, accusing the whistleblower organization of endangering the lives of Americans after releasing a trove of CIA hacking tools and secretive documents.
On Tuesday, WikiLeaks published an unprecedented 9,000 documents in what is quite possibly the largest ever publication of secret intelligence materials. Documents revealed that certain departments within the CIA had devised malware and hacking tools to turn a TV into a recording device, bypass globally popular anti-malware software and even hack into an individual’s self-driving car.
The CIA has confirmed that it would not comment on the authenticity of the material, documents and hacking tools leaked by WikiLeaks. The intelligence agency also refused to reveal any details about any investigation into finding out the source of the documents.
However, CIA spokeswoman Heather Fritz Horniak revealed a statement that read:
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 US personnel and operations, but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm.
The spokeswoman defended CIA’s cyber-espionage tools, which WikiLeaks revealed was targeting personal electronic devices including smartphones and internet-connected devices. “It’s the CIA’s job to be innovative, cutting-edge and the first line of defense in protecting this country from enemies abroad,” the spokeswoman added.
Crucially, the CIA’s director of public affairs Dean Boyd also adds that the agency is “legally prohibited from conducting electronic surveillance targeting individuals at home.” That includes “fellow Americans” Boyd stated, adding that the “Cia does not do so.”
Meanwhile, FBI director James Comey, who, in prepared remarks at a Boston cybersecurity conference after the comprehensive leak, stated:
There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America.
“All of us have a reasonable expectation of privacy in our homes, in our cars, and in our devices. But it also means with good reason, in court, government, through law enforcement, can invade our private spaces,” Comey said.
Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung have all released statements addressing the vulnerabilities revealed by the WikiLeaks expose.
Microsoft and Samsung said the companies were “aware” of the report and are “looking into it.”
Apple’s statement was more detailed, noting that the company had already patched some of the vulnerabilities with its latest iOS update, adding that it “will continue to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities.”
Image credit: Wikimedia.