Central Intelligence Agency director takes negative tone on group Trump has praised

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the USA cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield last week signaled Iran the United States is prepared to use force to protect American interests.

Speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on Thursday, Pompeo condemned those who leaked classified information under the guise of altruism and whistleblowing, while acknowledging that there was more for agencies like the CIA to do to prevent leaks.

Pompeo said he and his colleagues at the Central Intelligence Agency found the celebration of WIkiLeaks "to be both perplexing and deeply troubling".

To counter the threat from WikiLeaks and those who leak America's most valuable national security secrets-like former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning-the us intelligence community will have to go after groups like WikiLeaks.

Pompeo is the latest top official in the Trump administration to note that Russian Federation hacked into the emails of Democratic staffers with the intention of influencing the 2016 presidential election.

Assange, from Australia, has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after allegations of rape in Sweden, which he denies.

He said Russia's GRU military intelligence service used Wikileaks to distribute material hacked from Democratic National Committee computers during the 2016 USA presidential election.

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Like Agee, leakers "choose to see themselves in a romantic light", Pompeo said.

Pompeo referenced the intelligence community's report on Thursday, but made no mention of Moscow's apparent preference for Trump over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. For a time before taking office, Trump did not endorse a report from the United States intelligence community accusing Russian Federation of being behind the hacks and using WikiLeaks to disseminate them in order to hurt the Clinton campaign.

The CIA director said the US intelligence community determined that Russian military intelligence used WikiLeaks to release information obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee.

Counterintelligence investigators continue to try to find out who stole the files and handed them to WikiLeaks. Today Pompeo replied saying, "Assange claims to harbor an overwhelming admiration for both America and the idea of America but I assure you this man knows nothing of America and our ideals". "They champion nothing but their own celebrity".

Past administrations have been "squeamish" about pursuing WikiLeaks and similar anti-secrecy groups under what Pompeo said was a misguided notion they have First Amendment rights to publish. Pompeo replied, "I do not". "He does seem to have gotten access to the president".

At Pompeo's nomination hearing, the former Republican House member was questioned by Maine Senator Angus King who said Pompeo wrote a tweet in July 2016 citing the WikiLeaks releases as proof that the Democratic Party machinery rigged the primary process to help Clinton beat her challenger, Senator Bernie Sanders.

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