WikiLeaks on Wednesday released a CIA memo analyzing the risks of terrorists operating from the United States, but the document offered no dramatic revelations of government secrets like the website’s earlier leaks.
The CIA paper — titled “What If Foreigners See the United States as an ‘Exporter of Terrorism’?” — examines the implications of extremists recruiting US nationals and using the United States as a base for attacks abroad (link).
The Central Intelligence Agency played down the release of the February memorandum, a so-called “red cell” analysis that is supposed to provide an alternative view to the spy agency’s leaders.
“These sorts of analytic products — clearly identified as coming from the agency’s ‘Red Cell’ — are designed simply to provoke thought and present different points of view,” CIA spokesman George Little said in an email.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, made light of the development and sought to ridicule WikiLeaks, which had announced it was about to release a CIA document.
“This is not exactly a blockbuster paper,” said the official.
The website is locked in a dispute with the Pentagon over the leaking of secret military documents on the Afghan war.
It published nearly 77,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan on July 23 and has said it will publish another 15,000 within the next couple of weeks.
The short document posted Wednesday was a modest paper compared to the trove of files released in July, much of it raw intelligence reports.
The CIA memo posted Wednesday warns that the United States has long been used by Muslim and other militants as a base for staging terror attacks abroad.
But it said that US officials have tended to focus mainly on the threat from extremists planning attacks against US targets, and overlooked those who might be aiming at assaulting non-US targets abroad.
“Foreign terrorists have recruited homegrown US extremists for attacks abroad and are likely to increase the use of this method because so far it has slipped below the radar of the governments of the US and other countries,” the memo said.
The problem carried potential legal issues that could hamper Washington’s efforts to win the transfer of terror suspects to US soil, it said.