What is behind the latest Wikileaks revelations?
The CIA has harshly criticised Wikileaks after its latest revelations about the US intelligence agency's spying activities targeting smart phones and televisions. Whether the documents are authentic and who passed them on remains unclear. The Kremlin could be using Wikileaks as a strategic weapon, some commentators suspect. Others point out that US President Trump benefits from the new leaks.
Wikileaks always targets US
Since the Wikileaks revelations mainly concern the US the idea that Moscow may have played a role here seems increasingly likely, La Vanguardia points out:
“The revelations of the agency founded by Julian Assange concern very recent documents from the period between 2013 and 2016, which means that the political, industrial and commercial fallout of this 'biggest ever leak of CIA documents' could be transcendental. … This new load of documents seems to support the claims of those who say that Wikileaks is a platform for the Kremlin's strategy of destabilising the US. In any case its publication of documents aimed in one direction only should prompt us to treat these revelations with great caution and objectivity.”
Trump rubbing his hands in glee
The Wikileaks revelations will fuel the controversy surrounding the intelligence agencies, Avvenire writes:
“To a certain extent they play down the (for Trump rather embarrassing) accusations that Moscow interfered with the US elections. Especially since it appears that the CIA's spying activities are far more extensive than the hacking attacks of which the Russian intelligence agencies are accused. The fact that the CIA engages in such continuous and comprehensive spying even makes the claims that Trump was wiretapped during the campaign less implausible. Consequently the spying accusations Trump is making against his predecessor are also less improbable. ... Trump has Assange to thank for that, too. The lack of transparency and responsibility with which the intelligence agencies make use of wiretaps is worrying. The Wikileaks revelations make that more than clear.”
The dark side of virtual life
The most recent Wikileaks releases on the CIA's wiretapping practices highlight the dangers of the virtual world, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung comments:
“The revelations show a large audience what security experts have been preaching for years: how vulnerable the new digital world really is. For more than two years we've known that TVs connected to the Internet can act as spies in the living room; the manufacturer Samsung has stated this explicitly. But such warnings fade into the background, outweighed by the desire for new, comfortable, digital services. The consumers' desire to be able to tell their televisions what channel they want to watch makes them close their eyes to the fact that these TV's also record private conversations. ... From the dog's dish to the bathroom scales to the baby monitor, it seems that everything that can go online must go online. ... Nevertheless incidents like the most recent Wikileaks revelations expose the dark side of this brave new world.”
The next episode in the spy thriller
The Wikileaks revelations tell us a lot about the current practices of the intelligence agencies, Eesti Päevaleht comments:
“Even bearing in mind that Julian Assange had already announced these latest revelations in February, they still hit us like a cold shower. All the more so given that the original goal was to pursue evidence of Russian spying in the US election campaign. Now, however, far more revealing material about the CIA has come to light. ... Even though only the practices of one side have been uncovered this has a double advantage. On the basis of our knowledge about US technology it's not hard to figure out what the Russians' technology is like. The comments of businessman-president Trump and professional spy Putin on the CIA documents will make tasty titbits for the public.”