CIA’s ‘WTF’ task force to assess WikiLeaks’ impact
The US Central Intelligence Agency has launched a panel dubbed the WikiLeaks Task Force, or “WTF”, to investigate the impact of diplomatic cables and military documents released by secrets outlet WikiLeaks.
The task force, which is being led by the CIA’s Counterintelligence Center, will examine how the release of these classified documents could affect diplomatic relationships, according to the Washington Post.
“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 paper.
The CIA has been relatively unscathed by WikiLeaks, the paper noted.
But the agency has not been entirely immune from the secrets outlet.
Some of the leaked diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks showed that the CIA drew up an “intelligence shopping list” for ambassadors and their staffs to collect.
Leaked cables showed that diplomats were tasked to obtain “much of the biographical information collected worldwide” on foreign officials, which included credit card numbers, frequent flier accounts, IP addressed, Internet accounts and passwords, phone numbers, fax numbers, contact lists, social networks and even specific times calls were placed, along with other assorted contact information.
The targets of the spying reportedly included UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, as well as the ambassadors of the permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, Russia, France and the UK.
In August, WikiLeaks released a CIA memo analyzing the risks of terrorists operating from the United States. The CIA downplayed the release of the memo, which described how the United States has been used as a base for staging terror attacks abroad, saying it was “not exactly a blockbuster paper.”
The agency tried to minimize the chances of a leak by sending warnings to administrators whenever a large amount of data is downloaded. In addition, most of the CIA’s computers do not allow the use of a removable drive, the paper reported.
Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks, reportedly used a removable thumb drive to download massive amounts of classified data.
Manning has been kept in solitary confinement for the last seven months, but has not been convicted of a crime.