Even after President Obama tried to reassure jittery
Americans in 2013 that “nobody is listening to your
telephone calls,” the CIA developed spying techniques far
more terrifying the ability to eavesdrop on the public
through their smartphones, computers and television sets,
and even try to control their cars, according to WikiLeaks
documents purportedly from the embattled intelligence
The document dump seemed to confirm even the most paranoid
American’s worst nightmare that the government can spy on you
through household devices in your living room and even your pants
The agency also developed a way to hack into smartphones, accessing
Apple and Google Android operating systems, to read even messages
encrypted through apps such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram.
In another frightening scenario, the spy agency as of October 2014
was looking into ways to hack the vehicle control systems of modern
cars and trucks, allowing the CIA “to engage in nearly undetectable
assassinations,” according to WikiLeaks.
The CIA didn’t just craft the hacking tools, it appears to have
allowed them to be stolen, according to WikiLeaks.
The anti-secrecy group did not allege that the CIA is actively
conducting listening operations on Americans using the hacking
techniques, but blamed the Obama administration for breaking
promises by not reporting the vulnerabilities to high-tech companies
so they could fix the problems.
“In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA, the U.S.
technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama
administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis
rather than hoard serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or
‘zero days’ to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based
manufacturers,” WikiLeaks wrote yesterday.
“Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places
huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk
to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently
discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability. If the CIA can
discover such vulnerabilities, so can others.”
Snowden on Twitter yesterday also warned that “any hacker can use
the security hole the CIA left open to break into any iPhone in the
President Obama decided in January 2014 that the National Security
Agency should turn over information about major flaws in internet
security, but also created a major loophole for “a clear national
security or law enforcement need,” The New York Times reported at
The latest files date from 2013 to 2016 and are dubbed by WikiLeaks
as Vault 7.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee yesterday expressed
concern and hinted at an investigation. “These appear to be very,
very serious,” said California U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes. “We are
extremely concerned, and we are following it closely.”
Herald wire services contributed to