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 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
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.