A few months ago, in his first public remarks after becoming the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo expressed contempt for Wikileaks, calling the website “a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”
Yesterday, The Hill highlighted some related thoughts from Pompeo.
Pompeo argued during an interview with conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens at the Aspen Institute’s Security Forum that Wikileaks is intent on harming America.
“WikiLeaks will take down America any way they can,” he said. “I don’t love WikiLeaks.”
This wasn’t an unexpected response. Not only did he criticize Wikileaks earlier this year, but most high-ranking officials in U.S. intelligence agencies have made related comments about the website and the people behind it.
The trouble is what Pompeo used to say about Wikileaks. CNN had an interesting report on this back in April.
Pompeo’s comments immediately drew attention to a tweet from July 2016 in which he linked to the WikiLeaks document dump of emails from the Democratic National Committee. Critics used the tweet to call out Pompeo for his dramatic reversal on WikiLeaks.
When Pompeo was asked about the tweet at his confirmation hearing in January, he said he never viewed WikiLeaks as a “credible source of information.”
Pompeo, however, repeatedly cited the group to attack Hillary Clinton during the campaign, a CNN KFile review of his tweets and media appearances shows.
When the Clinton campaign said Russia was responsible for releasing stolen materials to Wikileaks, Pompeo dismissed the concerns as nonsense. Soon after, he tried to use information from Wikileaks to turn Bernie Sanders’ supporters against the Democratic ticket.
CNN’s report added, “When WikiLeaks released Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s emails in October of 2016, Pompeo sent five tweets citing the revelations from the emails to attack Clinton and also mentioned the emails in media appearances.”
The tension between Pompeo’s 2016 posture and his 2017 concerns is tough to reconcile. The CIA director now believe WikiLeaks “will take down America any way they can,” but as recently as last year, he seemed to not only support WikiLeaks’ efforts; Pompeo actually took deliberate steps to help promote and disseminate the website’s stolen contents.
It’s almost as if the CIA director abhors WikiLeaks – unless he can use it to advance his partisan interests.