The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has accused WikiLeaks of putting Americans in danger with its release of thousands of documents that the group said were part of a U.S. cyberespionage toolkit.
"The American public should be deeply troubled by any WikiLeaks disclosure designed to damage the intelligence community's ability to protect America against terrorists and other adversaries," CIA spokeswoman Heather Fritz Horniak said in a statement posted on the agency's website late on March 8.
"Such disclosures not only jeopardize U.S. personnel and operations, but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm," he said.
WikiLeaks on March 7 published what it says are almost 9,000 documents taken from the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence.
While the CIA has not confirmed the authenticity of the documents, Reuters quoted two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying that intelligence agencies had been aware of the breach since the end of last year.
Contractors were likely WikiLeaks' source for the documents, the sources added.
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on March 9 ridiculed the CIA for failing to protect its secrets.
Speaking via a live-streamed news conference from Ecuador's embassy in London, where he has lived as a fugitive since 2012, Assange said the CIA had committed "a historic act of devastating incompetence, to have created such an arsenal and then stored it all in one place."
Assange also said WikiLeaks would work with tech companies to develop fixes for the CIA hacking methods before the organization releases any more information about CIA cybertools it has gathered.
At the White House, spokesman Sean Spicer said after the WikiLeaks disclosures that President Donald Trump thinks the CIA's systems are "outdated and need to be updated."
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP