Last July, while stumping for then-candidate, now-president Donald Trump, US Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) gleefully referenced nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails released by the transparency/disclosure journalists at Wikileaks. “Need further proof that the fix was in from Pres. Obama on down?” Pompeo tweeted. The emails showed that DNC officials had worked overtime to rig their party’s primaries for eventual nominee Hillary Clinton and against challenger Bernie Sanders.
What a difference nine months makes! On April 13, Pompeo — now in charge at the Central Intelligence Agency — used the bully pulpit of his first public speech in his new job to call out his old ally as “a nonstate hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”
WikiLeaks says that no, it is not in fact abetted by Vladimir Putin’s regime.
If I have to choose between believing WikiLeaks or believing Mike Pompeo, I’ll believe WikiLeaks six days a week and twice on Sunday.
Over the course of more than a decade, WikiLeaks has built a sterling reputation for delivering the real goods on various governments (including Russia’s). The next document it releases which is shown to be fake will be the first. WikiLeaks has earned the trust of the public — and moreover, it has shown that it trusts the public with information about what our governments are doing in our names and with our money.
The US intelligence community, on the other hand, spies on us, lies to us about it, and expects us to pick up the check even after decades of irrefutable evidence of its dishonesty and incompetence.
The publicly released evidence for Pompeo’s allegation that WikiLeaks is in bed with the Russians is: Zero, zip, zilch, nada, a big fat goose-egg. If Pompeo has any such evidence, he’s keeping it secret. And that’s not very believable: After all, the CIA has done a pretty poor job of keeping secrets lately. WikiLeaks is in the process of releasing “Vault 7,” a trove of CIA documents revealing the agency’s work to subvert the electronic devices we all use on a daily basis and spy on us through them.
If Pompeo had any evidence that WikiLeaks was working with or for Putin, someone (maybe even WikiLeaks itself) would likely have already procured and published that information. Just sayin’.
WikiLeaks has changed the world, and it’s changed it for the better. Pompeo and his old and busted spy mill, not so much.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.