In the past week, WikiLeaks published a new set of documents that they claim will be the first in a series entitled ‘Year Zero’. The leaks relate to classified documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, the C.I.A., and the organisation, headed by controversial figure Julian Assange, claim it is the largest ever release of classified information. Among the allegations made by WikiLeaks in the information release included evidence that the C.I.A. were using malware to target modern technology – such as iPhone and Android devices, as well as Smart TVs. However, the move by WikiLeaks, a stateless organisation that has no official affiliations with any nation, can be best viewed as another move in the ongoing story regarding U.S.-Russian relations – placing the organisation firmly in the camp of the Russian state.
The revelations allege the Agency is using this malware to ‘spy’ on the public by exploiting the flaws in the security of the software and hardware of the affected devices. While it may not be surprising to many that an intelligence agency has the tools to track individuals – whether these individuals are citizens by large or individuals the C.I.A. may have a particular interest in – the document dump comes at a time of fractured relations between the US President and the C.I.A.. With the new Commander-in-Chief’s criticism of the agency’s suggestion of Russian involvement in the U.S. elections, the move is nothing more than the organisation’s attempts to discredit the intelligence agency and shine the spotlight away from the on-going and developing story of President Trump and President Putin’s relationship.
If suspected links between the Russian state and WikiLeaks are confirmed to be true, this information will have come as a great surprise to the Russian government. It is likely the Russian government were unwilling to give up information relating to the methods of foreign intelligence agencies, such as the C.I.A. but saw it as a concession they were willing to take in order to direct attention away from the election hacking scandal.
WikiLeaks have previously come to the aid of the U.S. President. In the election campaign, it was WikiLeaks who provided documents relating to the emails of Hillary Clinton that President Trump clung on to. It is undoubted that this helped to swing the election in favour of President Trump and was key to his victory. With these latest allegations, again helping the President, it is becoming clearer that WIkiLeaks is a tool the Russian state is willing to use to force change in the world.