‘WTF’: CIA’s WikiLeaks Task Force

The CIA has set up a WikiLeaks Task Force, known inside the agency simply as ‘WTF.’

'WTF': CIA's WikiLeaks Task Force

In the wake of this latest WikiLeaks scandal that exposed the foibles of US diplomatic relationships, foreign governments from Australia to Russia put the blame on US intelligence failures to keep the communications under wraps. Now, it seems the CIA has joined the chorus.

The Washington Post today reports that the CIA has launched a new WikiLeaks Task Force—as the Post writes, “At CIA headquarters, it’s mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: W.T.F.”—to analyze whether all the hype around WikiLeaks has compromised the agency’s ability to secure informants and gather intelligence.

Although the agency doesn’t seem to have concluded its findings, the Post does point out that one sentiment shared in the CIA is that pressure from the Pentagon to share information between agencies is largely responsible for the leaks:

As recently as two years ago, the agency rejected a request to make more of its intelligence reports available on the SIPRNET, the classified network used by the Pentagon to pass information around the world… Among those people with access to SIPRNET was a low-level U.S. Army intelligence analyst, Bradley E. Manning, who has been charged with disclosing classified information and is suspected of using a simple thumb drive to steal the files that were sent to WikiLeaks.

This would seem to validate the view of people like Ron Paul, who maintain that WikiLeaks and its leader Julian Assange are nothing more than publishers who choose to publish material that they obtained legally and through international channels.

It would also seem to fly in the face of those like Joe Liebermann and Attorney General Eric Holder, who have sought extend US jurisdiction abroad to shut down WikiLeaks as a criminal outlet publishing classified material illegally.

It all comes down to responsibility: Is the onus on governments to keep their own secret documents secret, or is the onus on the world’s individuals to refrain from spreading information that governments would prefer to remain out of the public eye?

The CIA seems to have decided which side they’re on. Part of the reason the agency wasn’t exposed to embarrassing leaks like the State Department and other government agencies is that they refused the request to share their information in the SPIRNET system mentioned above: “‘We simply said we weren’t going to do it,’ another former CIA official said. ‘The consensus was there were simply too many people potentially who had access.'”

Sounds like the CIA is talking sense to us. If you don’t want your documents getting leaked, keep them to yourself. Their logic is pretty basic. Which probably explains their incredulity at other agencies’ exposure, and comes across in their nickname for the Task Force. We echo CIA’s sentiments, and ask the anti-free speech brigade: ‘WTF?’