CIA responds to WikiLeaks: WTF
December 22nd, 2010
01:52 PM ET

CIA responds to WikiLeaks: WTF

It's no secret that WikiLeaks' cable document dumps have caused ripples of concerns and speculation about how well the United States can keep secrets - its own and those of other countries.

It's been embarrassing to both U.S. diplomats and foreign leaders mentioned in the cables, but there haven't been any bombshells from the small percentage of documents released so far. The CIA, known for its ability to keep secrets, is taking no chances of being pulled further into the fray. The CIA has only been mentioned a few times in the cables, and has not been hit nearly as hard as other agencies and diplomats, but it does not appear willing to wait on the sidelines.

And it has an answer for WikiLeaks: WTF. Seriously.

In a move that couldn't be more ironic, and made for headlines such as the above, the CIA adopted a task force. And like all things involving the military, or secrecy, acronyms are huge. So when the CIA developed the WikiLeaks Task Force, naturally, it was likely thinking of the KISS method - Keep It Simple Stupid.

But in doing so, the CIA has proved it either has a really good sense of humor or was trying to send a snarky message, or perhaps someone at the agency just didn't think hard enough about the name choice.

"Officially, the panel is called the WikiLeaks Task Force," The Washington Post reports. "But at CIA headquarters, it's mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: W.T.F."

OK, all jokes and obvious humor aside, the CIA is trying to do something real here - and that's to try and protect its reputation for secrecy.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top aides had to start a new game plan - going to meet with foreign ministers, explaining, apologizing, cajoling and trying - to salvage relationships that she and the Obama administration had worked hard to establish. The State Department went into "war room" mode, pulling together an emergency round-the-clock team to handle the fallout.

So no doubt, the CIA is looking to make sure it won't be in the same situation.

"The director asked the task force to examine whether the latest release of WikiLeaks documents might affect the agency's foreign relationships or operations," CIA spokesman George Little told The Washington Post.

That's a high priority, officials told the paper. Because having any compromised informants really could lead to a real WTF situation - and not one the CIA or any government department would want on its hands.

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Filed under: CIA • Security • WikiLeaks
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. RicO'Shea

    All of you who think that full transparency is a good thing must not know that there is such a thing as diplomatic immunity.

    It's there for a reason.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. phil

    @George...most excellent post. But what's the 'F' stand for? I hope it stands for Final, cuz you don't want Marvin Bush to lead you down the street unless it's clearly marked. Even then, best bring a map(quest) or you'll be lost(er).

    December 22, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nightlite7

    That is the best response yet!! Someone in our supposed government might want to figure out their own leaks and roll some heads.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. An English Student

    The grammar in these posts really renders them meaningless. No one cares about the opinion of someone who doesn't know the difference between "your" and "you're." Go back to high school and then we'll talk.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ian Michael Gumby

    I think a lot of people who are supporting Assange don't realize that Assange was convicted in Australia for Hacking US government systems. (Yes its true, and you should read the judge's comments.)

    Assange definitely has a severe personality disorder and the charges in Sweden are just one indication.
    Assanage has made outlandish claims about this incident and a reporter from the UK's Guardian has outed him and showed that his claims of a 'honeypot' were false.

    Reading some of Assange's writings shows that he has a lot in common with Ted the Unibomber. (I kid you not, check out The New Yorker article.)

    Add to this the fact that Wikileaks is not a press organization by any sense of the definition along with Assange's personal vendetta against the US and you can see that there is more to this case than meets the eye.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Peter Wolfe

    All I can say is that this leak is a disgrace to national, domestic and internal security integrity to the United States of America an our allies abroad. It doesn't matter which president or cabinet is in office to me cause thi should never ever happen under the watch of the federal officials. It appears that national security has gradually become comfortable with complacent security enforcement mechanisms on ethics, regulations and conduct while in office. They don't appear to have been taking thier jobs very seriously enough to warrant their pay in office by tax payers. Moreover, somebody should be severely punished by firing, penalty or penalties or even jail time maybe even go as far as treason on leaks. Reminds me almost of the Rosenburg nuclear secrets of the fifties as well. Pathetic U.S.A security is laughable throughout histoyr except for Roswell, J.F.K assassination, etc. Sad truly sad indeed.

    December 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • SB

      All I can say is that the contents of the cables, written not by Wikileaks but by the leaders of this country, are a disgrace to national, domestic and internal security integrity to the United States of America an our allies abroad.

      There. Fixed it for you. Wikileaks did not make the information. Wikileaks did not write the cables. Wikileaks is not the one who said things it should be ashamed for saying about our supposed friends and allies. Wikileaks just made the words public. Your anger is misplaced.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TheVeteran

    By the looks of some of these statements here, some people think that it is wrong for the government to have classified information. Classified information protect lives. There is not a need for everyone to know everything, not even in your own little household. Get an understanding of "need to know," and understand that some things that are kept secret protects our freedom, and that information should only be known by people who are involved and have been vetted so this information cannot be exploited by our enemies.

    Australia was started by a bunch of crooks, and it looks like Assange and Murdock (the Fox [Faux] News owner) are are two Aussies bent on destroying our country by using propaganda. Peace.

    December 22, 2010 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enlightenment

      Have you ever taken a course on American history? At least we do agree on Murdoch.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Raven

    So if this Wikileaks dude manages to bribe some disgruntled military techie into giving him nuclear secret launch codes
    it would be ok to publish them?

    What have you all been smoking?

    December 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • publius enigma

      The stuff that was leaked was nothing like that. I swear one day you guys are saying there was nothing there and the next day you are claiming its the next holocaust.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cold War Vet

    The irony doesn't stop there. The CIA is clearly trying to protect itself from the WMD in Washington (Wikileaks Melt-Down). Seriously, it's good to hear the CIA is taking further steps to prevent leaks. I would be very concerned if even the CIA's secrets were leaked to the Internet. Stay frosty, CIA.

    December 22, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. shipoopi

    When did this become some game? why do people think they can put our US security at risk with no consequences? it's time to go old school and waterboard that ped....

    December 22, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • publius enigma

      Why do you hate rule of law? Have you so little respect for the foundation of democracy?

      December 22, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dywat

    I think the CIA is trying to do more than "protect its reputation of secrecy". Like, maybe, protect our national security, the security of our troops in the field, our citizens welfare home and abroad, etc.. Hopefully an errant .50 caliber round finds its way into this guy and his buddies soon.

    December 22, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Enlightenment

    Imagine where we would be had WikiLeaks been around prior to the Iraqi invasion. Nearly 4500 American lives and hundreds of thousands of iraqis would still be alive. To believe that "secret" intelligence doesn't need a check we just have to go back 8 years for when it was a "slam dunk" case that Iraq had WMDs, were linked to 9/11, and had ties to al-qaeda. We couldn't wait for the "smoking gun" they told us and so we went to war on a pack of lies. Lies which a lot of you support protecting and defending so they aren't exposed to us for some crazy reason. The same morons that jump so swiftly to defend government secrecy are the ones that scream the loudest against the government running programs like social security because the government is "inefficient" they say because private corps are to be trusted more than the government but alas when it comes to "defense" and "national security" they want secrecy. Thank you WikiLeaks for trying to expose and create a balance on the federal government and hopefully potentially preventing another illconceived and misguided war in the middle east. And to those opposed to wikileaks, don't read it continue living on with your lives like the rest of the flock.

    December 22, 2010 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Some Dude

    I think that there are good reasons to communicate confidentially. We are not talking about releasing select information to expose a crime. This is just a mass release of information to show off that he can, with no regard to what harm comes to anyone else.

    If you believe that secrecy is always wrong, please fill out the following information:
    First name:
    Last Name:
    Phone number:
    Social Security Number:
    Checking account number:
    Credit Card:
    Number Name on the card exp date Security code
    Place of work:
    Work Schedule:

    If you are not willing to publish all this information, then you do not really believe that all information should be public.

    December 22, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kala

    Believe it or not, there are some secrets that must remain secret. Diplomatic and intelligence strategies for instance, must not see the light of day. This is not because the public cannot be trusted not to repeat the information, but because a very small percentage of the public is untrustworthy. Certain people would leak such information to other countries which would use it against us. This is why there are big holes in the military budget.

    "But I have a right to know what the military does with my tax money!!!" Well, they're probably doing something that they don't want foreign countries to know about, and if the government was to tell you the details, then it would have to tell everyone in the country, which would then open that information to the rest of the world. If our military is working on some secret jet fighter or stealth bomber, I don't want the enemy to know a thing about it until we use it on them.

    There is a place for transparency. There is also a place for secrecy.

    December 22, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bearfoot

    sheeple like to be left in the dark, no thinking allowed, let the experts take care of everything of import, that way we can all be watching nascar and drinking bud lite, who needs democracy? i'll take a big mac.........

    December 22, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enlightenment

      Well said God forbid we trust them with regards to social programs like healthcare, social security, Medicare etc but when it comes to war, security, terrorism please keep all the secrets you want we trust you guys. What's especially ironic about this is how often intelligence is completely wrong (I.e. Iraq) and how often politicians get caught lying or exposed as being corrupt but no we should continue to trust them blindly. Pass me my beer.

      December 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uncertain

      I agree with you in principle; that the government is at times a shadowy figure who abuses its powers. I cite for instance the Bush Administration, the Nixon Administration, and yes even ones like Lincoln and FDR. However, I find myself having problems with the way Wikileaks does business. If Wikileaks told me that our government has secret torture camps spread throughout the world, I would applaud their work and thank them for breaking the story. However, with leaks like, "US diplomats find British to be paranoid about the relationship" I find it hard to take them seriously. How does it help the United States and its people to openly expose the crass wording of our country's diplomats? It really doesn't. I just think that Wikileaks needs to understand that not all news is really important for us to know(like my diplomats' opinions on Britain) while information like torture camps and Civil Rights infringements are. Try using the filter from time to time . . .

      December 27, 2010 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
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