Julian Assange spoke to the press on Thursday after the Feds announced an investigation into WikiLeaks’ publication of purported CIA documents earlier this week. The dumping apparently revealed that the agency exploited a smart-device capability that could turn TVs into listening devices. While this looks terrible, it didn’t surprise techies who are aware of Samsung’s previous troubles on the matter. Meanwhile, the FBI and CIA (which hasn’t commented on whether the documents are authentic) are taking the leak seriously.
Reuters touched base with multiple U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials, who wished to remain anonymous but admitted they were aware of a 2016 breach of agency systems (possibly by contractors) that led to the leak. Naturally, Assange was not concerned about angering U.S. authorities. He claims to have even more CIA tools that WikiLeaks hasn’t published yet, and he defiantly slammed the CIA for what he described as careless storage and retrieval mechanisms:
“The Central Intelligence Agency lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal. This is an historic act of devastating incompetence to have created such an arsenal and stored it all in one place and not secured it.”
Assange also revealed that he’s planning on handing over more information on the CIA’s tools to Apple, Samsung, and Google. He claims that this “exclusive access” will allow the companies to develop fixes for the smart-device exploit used by the CIA. He also expressed a desire to protect the “journalists and people of the world” from nefarious organizations who would hope to use the tools for their own devices.
CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu swiftly responded to Assange’s comments by slamming him in return:
“As we’ve said previously, Julian Assange is not exactly a bastion of truth and integrity. Despite the efforts of Assange and his ilk, CIA continues to aggressively collect foreign intelligence overseas to protect America from terrorists, hostile nation states and other adversaries.”
None of the companies mentioned by Assange have publicly responded to his offer, nor is it clear on whether they will explore the matter further.
Also on Thursday morning, the WikiLeaks founder curiously met with Brexit mastermind and new Fox News contributor Nigel Farage. When Mr. Brexit later left the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, he pretended to have no idea what he was doing there: “I never discuss where I go or who I see.” Someone needs to send this little girl in for some Farage grilling.