CIA Director Mike Pompeo Touted Kidnapping, Killing Of Julian Assange In Response To Publication Of CIA Leaks

from the kill-'em-all-and-let-god-try-to-get-the-natsec-gag-order-lifted dept

As CIA director, Mike Pompeo decided Julian Assange and Wikileaks should be promoted to Public Enemy #1. With Wikileaks leaking leaked CIA secrets, Pompeo ratcheted up his rhetoric in response to the leaks. Finding himself frustrated by the US government's understandable reluctance to pull the trigger on prosecutions of arguable acts of journalism, the CIA director decided those constitutional concerns could be waved away with the proper national security designation.

During a 2017 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Pompeo -- who supported Wikileaks when it was airing the Democratic National Committee's dirty laundry -- unilaterally decided Assange was a threat unworthy of any constitutional protections.

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.

The rhetoric worked. A couple of months after this impromptu rant, the Senate Intelligence Committee decided Wikileaks was a certified Enemy of the People™:

The committee… wants Congress to declare WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” which would open Julian Assange and the pro-transparency organization – which most of the U.S. government considers a handmaiden of Russian intelligence – to new levels of surveillance.

Some crazy shit, to be sure. But it gets crazier. While doing business as a division of Trump Holdings, LLC, the CIA and other agencies got high AF (presumably) and came up with all sorts of answers to the question, "How do you solve a problem like Maria Wikileaks?"

Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”

Welp. I guess this explains why the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi security forces was largely ignored by the Trump administration. The government had its own plans to do serious harm to a journalist it suddenly found inconvenient only months after embracing Assange and Wikileaks as truth-to-power-tellers when it leaked a virtual boatload of DNC emails.

That was only part of the wide-ranging proposals. Other suggestions went ahead as planned, though. The IC aggressively targeted Wikileaks, ramping up surveillance and seizing electronic devices from suspected members of the transparency group. Apparently every option was on the table, including extraordinary rendition.

This Yahoo News investigation, based on conversations with more than 30 former U.S. officials — eight of whom described details of the CIA’s proposals to abduct Assange — reveals for the first time one of the most contentious intelligence debates of the Trump presidency and exposes new details about the U.S. government’s war on WikiLeaks. It was a campaign spearheaded by Pompeo that bent important legal strictures, potentially jeopardized the Justice Department’s work toward prosecuting Assange, and risked a damaging episode in the United Kingdom, the United States’ closest ally.

Risk it, Pompeo didn't. A wise move, but probably not due to any actual wisdom Pompeo possesses. Kidnapping and/or killing a non-brown, non-Muslim so-called "enemy of the people" wouldn't have played well anywhere, possibly not even back home in one nation under Trump.

The CIA doesn't want to talk about this. Neither does Mike Pompeo, who seemed more than willing to do everything but drone strike the embassy Assange resided in prior to his arrest.

The plans never materialized or this post would never have been written. Instead, we'd have presented a long series of posts about the US deciding it was appropriate to kidnap or kill someone who published leaked documents -- the obvious and inevitable nadir of government power expansion under a variety of national security authorities.

That is was ever considered -- even momentarily -- shows just how dangerous the wrong person in the wrong position can be, especially when encouraged and coddled by an administration that openly displayed its hatred for the press. This is an authoritarian's spank bank. It should never have been allowed to escape this fantasy world and become a regrettable part of the history the ostensibly free world.

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Filed Under: assassination, ceo, intelligence, julian assange, leaks, mike pompeo, transparency
Companies: wikileaks


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Sep 2021 @ 5:15am

    Questions raised…

    Kidnapping and/or killing a non-brown, non-Muslim so-called "enemy of the people" wouldn't have played well anywhere, possibly not even back home in one nation under Trump.

    which raises a question as to how many brown and/or muslim "enemies of the people" we've killed, and the answer is "shitloads".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2021 @ 7:32am

    Conspiracy theories

    And this is why is it so easy to believe in even the wildest conspiracy theories.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 27 Sep 2021 @ 8:13am

      Re: Conspiracy theories

      Corollary: if you (or the "great man" you've tied your career to) believe in wild conspiracy theories, you're willing to entertain these wild conspiracies as viable plans of action.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Sep 2021 @ 8:14am

    If only people stopped looking at how wikileaks got the stuff it leaked and instead asked the really important questions of why are we being lied to about murders & killings of innocents in our names around the globe.

    You'd think after people flat out admitted our information coming out of Afghanistan was being prettied up to keep everyone happy while ignoring how bad it actually was & the immediate attempt to pretend that never happened perhaps it really is time that someone with an IQ actually start asking serious questions about how these little mistakes keep happening.

    How we can cover up the gleeful murder of innocents while demonizing the leaker for telling us the truth?
    We really really need to stop pretending we're perfect & never do anything wrong.

    They made plans (MULTIPLE) to execute a journalist who made them look bad by exposing the truth.

    Is this the nation we want?
    To be lied to, coddled, told we're always the good guys even as the chaingun cuts a childs body in 2?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 27 Sep 2021 @ 8:39am

      Re:

      Is this the nation we want?
      To be lied to, coddled, told we're always the good guys even as the chaingun cuts a childs body in 2?

      Uh, there is a near-majority that does want that package. It is unpatriotic to see ourselves as anything but the good guys, so we must be having our reasons. And since we have our reasons, that child must have been really bad.

      Where can I sign up for a chaingun? Sounds like something every 2nd Amendment lover should have at home.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Sep 2021 @ 10:52am

        Re: Re:

        And some people still question why I am shocked the hold my beer race is still alive...

        I think more people need to watch 'Collateral Murder' & demand answers. I'd love for Congress members to have to watch it and explain how what happened was okay and covering it up was okay.

        But then they tried to pretend because its still a secret, despite it being out in the open, no one can look at it.

        Maybe if the little girl had been unborn more people might have cared... (that's supposed to be a sarcastic comment... but its fucking true.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2021 @ 8:40am

      Re:

      To be fair, I have no love for Assange myself. He's extremely opinionated, an all-around asshole and is very likely controlled by Putin and his cronies. (The last one being entirely my own opinion, though him getting Snowden a Russian passport in record time is extremely suspicious...)

      But from what I do know of the CIA, it's just as bad as Assange himself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 27 Sep 2021 @ 8:49am

        Re: Re:

        But from what I do know of the CIA, it's just as bad as Assange himself.

        Apart from supporting coups, spreading lies, blackmail, wiretaps, sabotage, kidnapping, torture, murder and a few other things and their coverups that Assange cannot claim credit for.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2021 @ 8:49am

        Re: Re:

        But from what I do know of the CIA, it's just as bad as Assange himself.

        If anything its is worse, as it has organized assassinations and invasions.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2021 @ 8:51am

        Re: Re:

        AFAIK Assange hasn't led coups in the third world or drone striked anyone.... There is no comparison.

        CIA is undeniably terrible and has killed directly and indirectly MILLIONS of people over the last 70+ years.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2021 @ 9:26am

    The cia has done awful things like supporting coups in certain country's or providing support to extreme right wing governments . Assange did the world a service by showing curruption , the killing of innocent civilian journalists in Iraq, widespread spying and mass surveillance of American citizens
    Whether you think he's a nice person is irrelevant
    And izrael has assinated certain enemy's of the state in other country's
    Attacking someone in an embassy would be stupid and evil and it would have put more American diplomats at risk in foreign country's

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 27 Sep 2021 @ 9:31am

    When Trump's Traitors call you an Enemy of the People... that's like getting a Medal of Freedom from any other administration.

    (Not all human rights are protected by the Constitution.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 27 Sep 2021 @ 10:04am

    But...

    Equating Wikileaks to a "foreign intelligence service" - even during the height of the cold war, 007 propaganda notwithstanding, there was never an open season on KGB (or today on GRU) no matter what their actions. The only obvious state-sponsored terrorism by the West that comes to mind would be Mossad against those allegedly responsible for the terror murder of civilians, and bin Laden himself. (The drone strikes I classify as war actions during active wars, not random killing of an inactive agent.) Even during the worst of the cold war, agents were arrested; not even our own traitors were murdered without benefit of trial.

    The idea that someone should be killed for leaking information just shows that some people who should know better have watched too many Hollywood spy thrillers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Sep 2021 @ 10:21am

      Re: But...

      The only obvious state-sponsored terrorism by the West that comes to mind would be Mossad against those allegedly responsible for the terror murder of civilians, and bin Laden himself.

      Guess someone forgot the Al-Awlakis, whose alleged crimes pale in comparison with Bin Laden's (and Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki wasn't even accused of a crime (come to think of it, neither was Anwar)).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 27 Sep 2021 @ 1:40pm

      Re: But...

      The only obvious state-sponsored terrorism by the West that comes to mind ...

      You really should learn something about the history of Central and South America. When Americans bitch about the "immigrant crisis" from those areas, that crisis was 100% created by the US -- specifically the CIA -- starting in the late 1800s and continuing until (at least) the 1980s. We backed the slaughter of democratic regimes in order to install brutal dictatorships friendly to our business interests over and over again, with exactly the outcome you'd expect.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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