Former CIA Chief: New WikiLeaks Release Harms U.S. Intelligence Capabilities

March 9, 2017

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Wednesday that WikiLeaks damaged the U.S. intelligence community's effectiveness, including its ability to aid "foreign intelligence targets," by releasing thousands of documents that show the CIA's cyber spying capabilities.

Hayden, a retired four-star general and former director of the National Security Agency, appeared on CNN to discuss WikiLeaks' latest document dump. The group on Tuesday published thousands of documents, allegedly provided by a former U.S. government hacker and contractor, that reveal how the CIA hacks computers and other devices.

Hayden listed his concerns with the release, noting that it could lead to a loss of intelligence capability and capacity. He added that foreign intelligence agencies would benefit from the leaks.

"I think every intelligence service on the planet worth its weight is now going through these documents with great care to see what it is they have [and don't have] that makes them vulnerable to this suite of tactics, techniques, procedures, and tools that have now been made public," Hayden told CNN host Jake Tapper.

He also dismissed concerns that the CIA would abuse its techniques to improperly spy on Americans. Tapper asked Hayden whether he was confident necessary oversight exists to prevent abuse.

"I am," Hayden responded.

He conceded that humans always make mistakes, but suggested that both congressional oversight and U.S. intelligence agencies' self-restricting "culture" would prevent abuse.

"We are the most overseen intelligence community on the planet," Hayden said.