Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks


The publication by WikiLeaks of detailed information on CIA hacking tools, part of a series of leaks dubbed 'Vault 7', led to the CIA stepping up its campaign against the organisation and, in particular, its founder Julian Assange. According to a report published by Yahoo! News, Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA for the Trump administration from January 2017 to April 2018, was key to the exploration of new methods for neutralising WikiLeaks' activities - which allegedly included discussions of kidnapping or assassinating Assange. The CIA's expanded activity against WikiLeaks was made possible through shifting the legal designation given to the organisation - in particuar, by dubbing it a "non-state hostile intelligence service".

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"In 2017, as Julian Assange began his fifth year holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London, the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, spurring heated debate among Trump administration officials over the legality and practicality of such an operation.

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.”

The conversations were part of an unprecedented CIA campaign directed against WikiLeaks and its founder. The agency’s multipronged plans also included extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.

While Assange had been on the radar of U.S. intelligence agencies for years, these plans for an all-out war against him were sparked by WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of extraordinarily sensitive CIA hacking tools, known collectively as “Vault 7,” which the agency ultimately concluded represented 'the largest data loss in CIA history.'"

Source: Yahoo! News, 26 September 2021

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