CIA Faces Backlash After Tweeting Vague Threat at WikiLeaks Sources
In a bizarre tweet on Saturday evening, the CIA sent a vague threat to WikiLeaks and their potential sources.
Just after 8:30 p.m., the official account of the CIA sent out a tweet warning that “WikiLeaks may think they are protecting those who provide them with classified information & other secrets, but they should not be certain of that.”
DCIA Pompeo: WikiLeaks may think they are protecting those who provide them with classified information & other secrets, but they should not be certain of that.#RNDF
— CIA (@CIA) December 3, 2017
The tweet received hundreds of responses from people questioning if they were threatening the publisher — and others invoking slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, who many believe was the source of the leaked emails published by WikiLeaks in 2016.
Right…I mean look what happened to #SethRich ‼️
— 🗣𝕐𝕒𝕤𝕙𝕦𝕒 𝕀𝕊 𝕄𝕒𝕤𝕙𝕚𝕒𝕔𝕙🙌🏻 (@Odonata_Anon) December 3, 2017
Rich was shot in the back in the early morning hours of July 10, 2016, near his home while he was on the phone with his girlfriend — 12 days before the publication of the DNC emails by the controversial publisher. The police initially ruled that it was a botched robbery — but his wallet, watch, and necklace were still on his person when he was discovered by police.
WikiLeaks made headlines in 2016 when they offered a $20,000 reward for information on the murderer of the slain DNC staffer. The website’s founder Julian Assange also mentioned Rich during an appearance on Dutch television.
“Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often significant risks. There was a 27-year old that works for the DNC who was shot in the back… murdered.. for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington,” Assange said during an interview with Dutch TV last year. When asked by the host if he would suggest that Rich was involved, he stated that “we have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States and that our sources face serious risks… that’s why they come to us so we can protect their anonymity.”
The murder remains unsolved and no suspects have ever been named.
While members of the mainstream media often pretend to be champions of a free press there has been radio silence from them on the threat against WikiLeaks sources. It is hard to imagine that there would not be outrage from all corners of the press if a tweet like this had been directed at the Washington Post or New York Times — who obviously also rely on leaks for their reporting.