Trump appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo has given a lengthy and at times rambling speech at the Centre for Strategic and Intentional Studies during which he dashed any remaining hopes that the Trump administration might look favourably on the plight of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
The speech is filled with hostility and contempt for Julian Assange along with outright untruths about Wikileaks.
“And that is one of the many reasons why we at CIA find the celebration of entities like WikiLeaks to be both perplexing and deeply troubling. Because while we do our best to quietly collect information on those who pose very real threats to our country, individuals such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden seek to use that information to make a name for themselves. As long as they make a splash, they care nothing about the lives they put at risk or the damage they cause to national security.
WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service. It has encouraged its followers to find jobs at CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It directed Chelsea Manning in her theft of specific secret information. And it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States, while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations.
It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia. In January of this year, our Intelligence Community determined that Russian military intelligence—the GRU—had used WikiLeaks to release data of US victims that the GRU had obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee. And the report also found that Russia’s primary propaganda outlet, RT, has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.
Now, for those of you who read the editorial page of the Washington Post—and I have a feeling that many of you in this room do—yesterday you would have seen a piece of sophistry penned by Mr. Assange. You would have read a convoluted mass of words wherein Assange compared himself to Thomas Jefferson, Dwight Eisenhower, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning work of legitimate news organizations such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. One can only imagine the absurd comparisons that the original draft contained.
Assange claims to harbor an overwhelming admiration for both America and the idea of America. But I assure you that this man knows nothing of America and our ideals. He knows nothing of our third President, whose clarion call for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness continue to inspire us and the world. And he knows nothing of our 34th President, a hero from my very own Kansas, who helped to liberate Europe from fascists and guided America through the early years of the Cold War.
No, I am quite confident that had Assange been around in the 1930s and 40s and 50s, he would have found himself on the wrong side of history”.
Julian Assange responded in a Tweet that turned the tables on Pompeo
Called a "non-state intelligence service" today by the "state non-intelligence agency" which produced al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet.
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) April 14, 2017
Now, let’s break down the biggest untruths in Pompeo’s statement:
1. Assange doesn’t know of America and its ideal
Assange is in favour of free speech, limited government, the protection of whistle-blowers who will hold that limited government to account and like Thomas Jefferson, who Pompeo claims Assange knows nothing about, he feels that America should not be involved in entangling foreign wars.
By Pompeos own logic, America must stand for censorship, big government, secretive and dishonest big government at that and constant entangling foreign wars. Maybe he’s right!
2. Assange would have been on the wrong side in the 1930s and 1940s
The fascist regimes of the 1930s and 1940s were big governments which did not tolerate dissent or free speech. Opposition free press was banned and those who attempted to lead it were arrested or killed. Personal liberty was not a high priority to say the least. By contrast in the US, the CIA did not exist in the 1930s and 1940s, but the 1st Amendment did.
Maybe it is Pompeo who would have been on the ‘wrong side’?
3. Russia’s ‘propaganda outlet’ RT has collaborated with Wikileaks
No it hasn’t. It’s simply not true and there has never been a shred of evidence to prove it. Assange has stated this clearly.
Julian Assange once hosted a show that was broadcast on RT. He also once syndicated his journalism in the liberal-hard-left Russophobic Guardian newspaper. Funny how Pompeo mentioned RT but not The Guardian. I smell an agenda…
The rambling statement also accused Edward Snowden of being a traitor. Funny how the former Congressman Pompeo said nothing about his erstwhile Congressional colleague and fellow Republican Ron Paul who has called Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning ‘heroes’.
The CIA is clearly back ‘in business’ under Pompeo. Like Donald Trump, he has changed his tune on an important issue. Prior to the election, he apparently had a more positive view of Wikileaks and Assange
Mike Pompeo was sharing Wikileaks documents on his Congressional Twitter account less than a year ago pic.twitter.com/cl5P6vnXSE
— Jessica Schulberg (@jessicaschulb) April 13, 2017
Not it is a case of Meet the new boos….same (if not worse) than the old boss.