WikiLeaks published thousands of documents Tuesday it described as the CIA's hacking arsenal, a document dump the website called the "largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency."
Wikileaks said the documents are from the CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence and represent a new series of leaks code-named "Vault 7." The website says the CIA "lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal," more than several hundred million lines of code, providing "the entire hacking capacity of the CIA."
Wikileaks says the archive appears to have been circulated among former government hackers and contractors, one of whom provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.The covert hacking program taps into Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which can be turned into covert microphones, the website says.
"By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware," Wikileaks said in a statement on its website. "Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook.
"The CIA had created, in effect, its 'own NSA' with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified."
USA TODAY has not yet been able to authenticate the documents. The CIA did not immediately return a call for comment.
The source of the information, which WikiLeaks did not name, hopes the document dump will initiate "a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons," the website says.
Wikileaks has conducted a global crusade to expose government secrets through a series of controversial and sometimes embarrassing document dumps in recent years. One led to the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, who has spent six years behind bars or leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents through the WikiLeaks website.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he has been accused of sexual assault, and the United States, where he fears possible espionage charges.