WikiLeaks condemned the Obama administration and the CIA on Friday for leaking information to NBC News, despite the fact that WikiLeaks prides itself on disclosing secret government documents.
The digital activist organization’s rather ironic denunciation came in a tweet after NBC aired an “exclusive, inside look” at a report from U.S. intelligence agencies on Thursday night. The report, which President Obama was briefed on Thursday, is said to provide evidence that the Russian government supported hacks against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign as part of a multifaceted campaign to interfere with the U.S. elections. According to the Obama administration, those cyberattacks led to WikiLeaks publishing thousands of emails from Democrats — many of them politically embarrassing.
The Obama admin/CIA is illegally funneling TOP SECRET//COMINT information to NBC for political reasons before PEOTUS even gets to read it.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 6, 2017
Amid a deluge of disparagement, WikiLeaks said the apparent leak did not reach the organization’s standards because no documents were published. In a subsequent tweet, WikiLeaks defined what it called a “pseudo leak”: “Where the White House authorizes officials to funnel anonymous claims to pet ‘journalists’ for political advantage.”
Two top intelligence officials with knowledge of the intelligence report told NBC News that Moscow led cyberattacks against the White House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of State and U.S. companies — some were successful, some were foiled.
According to the officials, Russia’s motivation in targeting the United States was to disrupt the American democratic process and as payback for Obama doubting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s legitimacy. This meddling goes back to at least 2008, they said.
Whereas Obama has expressed faith in the U.S. intelligence community and denounced Putin, President-elect Donald Trump has expressed skepticism of the U.S. intelligence community and praised Putin — variously calling the Russian strongman a real “leader” and “very smart.”
Trump announced that he would ask Congress to investigate why the report had been shared with NBC before his Friday briefing on the classified information.
I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017