Wikileaks dumped a large amount of classified CIA documents this week. Thousands of pages detailed how the CIA’s software and techniques gather information, including how they hack into smartphones, computers, and internet-connected TVs. Wikileaks said the release was just the first installment of a larger collection.
Many apps were named specifically with details about how the CIA is able to enter them. There was also mention of a technique used to “crash” computers.
CIA insiders said the likeliest source of the breach was contractors the CIA worked with, according to PBS NewsHour, who interviewed former CIA Director Leon Panetta, who served during the Obama administration.
Panetta said that the most important thing with the leak was going to be “how do you replace those important tools that have now been made public, and try to reestablish our intelligence capabilities so we can gather the information that is absolutely essential in order to protect our country.
“This has been seriously damaging to the CIA and its ability to conduct intelligence operations. So I imagine that our first focus is on ‘What do we do to try to replace our ability to go after terrorists.”
Panetta commented on earlier leaks and steps that would have been taken to try to make their tools more secure but, “We are clearly living in a world in which the ability to hack has developed to a point where I happen to think that probably anything is vulnerable today.
“So I think you try to take steps to try to protect that kind of sensitive information, try to do what you can to make sure that those who are working for you are taking steps to protect it, contractors are taking steps to protect it, but the bottom line is that in today’s world I think you always have to be prepared that somebody may very well be able to get access to that kind of information, and if they do that they will make it public. I think that’s the world we live in right now.”
Panetta was asked about why the CIA needs these tools, when the NSA is responsible for those things. He said that the CIA is responsible for gathering information from overseas.
“There’s a reason we have not had another 9-11 attack in this country, and a lot of that is because our intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies, are sharing information and gathering information that makes sure we protects the United States.”