WikiLeaks’ CIA hacking claim: Criminal probe opened

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A former CIA counterterrorism official said the intelligence agency needs to launch a manhunt to determine how WikiLeaks purportedly obtained sensitive documents.

“I think the question they’re going to have is, ‘Did somebody from the outside hack into the agency?’ I doubt it,” Philip Mudd told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day” Wednesday. “Or, ‘Do you have somebody on the inside — whether it’s a contractor or an employee — handing over the information?'”

“This, from the CIA perspective, is devastating and there’s got to be a manhunt in that organization today to determine who did this,” added Mudd, a CNN counterterrorism analyst.

WikiLeaks claims it has acquired documents on how the CIA uses cyberweapons to spy on people around the world, including the ability to hack into smartphones and smart TVs.

A federal criminal investigation is being opened into WikiLeaks’ publication of the documents, examining how they came into WikiLeaks’ possession and whether they might have been leaked by an employee or contractor. The CIA is also trying to determine if there are other unpublished documents WikiLeaks may have.

The documents published so far are largely genuine, officials said, though they are not yet certain if all of them are and whether some of the documents may have been altered.

The White House and the State Department haven’t yet responded to the claims.

The documents released by WikiLeaks have not been authenticated by independent experts and the CIA said it won’t confirm their existence. CNN is reviewing the material.

“We’re talking about how Americans’ phones get hacked,” Mudd said. “If you’re in the CIA this morning — and I know the people who run this program — your first question isn’t just, ‘What are we revealing to the adversary?’ It’s, ‘Who did this?'”