The FBI seal outside the bureau's headquarters in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
US intelligence agencies have launched a criminal investigation into the publication of a series of highly classified CIA hacking secrets by WikiLeaks.
Coordinated by the FBI and the CIA, the probe’s main objective is to identify the sources that provided the anti-secrecy website with the confidential data.
Sources within the government told Reuters that CIA contractors were the prime suspects in the case.
WikiLeaks said on Tuesday that it had obtained and published thousands of documents that reveal the agency’s hacking and spying secrets.
The nearly 9,000 pages of document showed that the CIA sneaks into smart phones and televisions to spy on users around the world.
The spy agency’s hackers also have the ability to disguise themselves as hacking groups based in Russia and other countries.
Germany has already began to work on WikiLeaks allegations that Washington used the US consulate in Berlin to launch hacking attacks.
WikiLeaks also claimed that nearly all of the CIA's cyber tools have been stolen and are potentially in the hands of foreign spies and former US government hackers and contractors.
The agency has refused to confirm the authenticity of the documents but said in a statement that it was “legally prohibited from conducting electronic surveillance targeting individuals here at home, including our fellow Americans, and CIA does not do so.”
No ‘absolute privacy’ in US
Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey warned during a Boston College conference that “absolute privacy” was non-existent in the US.
“All of us have a reasonable expectation of privacy in our homes, in our cars, and in our devices. But it also means with good reason, in court, government, through law enforcement, can invade our private spaces,” Comey told the 2017 Boston Conference on Cyber Security.
FBI Director James Comey speaks to guests at the "First Boston Conference on Cyber Security" at Boston College, in Boston, Massachusetts, March 8, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The explosive leaks provide potential ammunition to supporters of President Donald Trump, who claim the alleged Russian hacking attacks against the 2016 presidential election could be a false-flag operation carried out by his domestic foes.
The WikiLeaks dump came amid an ongoing feud between Trump and the US intelligence community over Russia’s alleged efforts to influence the November election in favor of the Republican billionaire.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denounced WikiLeaks’ move, saying it was “the kind of disclosure that undermines our security, our country and our well-being.”
The website claimed that the Tuesday dump was “less than 1%” of a massive archive it has code-named “Vault 7.”

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