Counter-intelligence investigators are scrambling to figure out how classified CIA hacking tools were stolen from the CIA — and whether an agency employee, contractors, Russian hackers or some combination of the three is to blame, U.S. officials told NBC News.
A senior intelligence official confirmed to NBC News that the more than 8,000 documents posted by WikiLeaks include authentic material about CIA hacking methods, some of it classified Top Secret. And the CIA is not denying the WikiLeaks claim that it has a much larger archive of material it has yet to publish. “The damage assessment isn’t completed yet,” said Juan Zarate, a former senior U.S. counter-terrorism official and NBC News consultant. “The intelligence community doesn’t know yet what the effects are and the implications of this revelation. But if these documents are authentic, it does reveal CIA capabilities.”
WikiLeaks has claimed it has an even larger trove of documents and computer code that represents a portion of the CIA’s “hacking arsenal.” A former senior official at the National Security Agency told NBC News that may be exaggerated. “But I also think there is a pile of stuff in here that looks like the real deal. I imagine the toolset is in the hundreds,” he said. Still, he said, “it’s not the whole wad. Not the stuff that I would say is ‘Level 10 crown jewels.'”
Outside experts say the CIA has suffered a loss.