SPECIAL REPORT

WikiLeaks publishes apparent CIA hacking tools

The 'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in

 

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," March 7, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, (RET) FORMER NSA AND CIA DIRECTOR: It looks like a very extensive file of the tactics, techniques, procedures, targets, and political rules under which the central intelligence agency conducts its computer network exploitation and other activities. So if it is that, it would be very, very damaging.

This is about foreign intelligence collection. This doesn't invoke the privacy rights of Americans.

REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIF.: These appear to be very, very serious. But at this time that's really all the information I have on it. Just to say we are extremely concerned and we are following it closely.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: WikiLeaks out with a document dump, some 8,000 documents that detail CIA efforts to spy. Among the program according to the "New York Times" and others, we've seen some of these documents, another program described in the documents is called on UMBRAGE is a voluminous library of cyber-attack techniques that the CIA has collected from malware produced by other countries, including Russia. According to the WikiLeaks release, the large number of techniques allows the CIA to mask the origin of some of its cyber-attacks and confuse forensic investigators.

Edward Snowden, who has been quiet lately, tweeted out today "What makes this look real, program and office names such as JOJ, IOC, crypt series are real. Only a cleared insider could know them," he goes on.

Bottom line, U.S. intelligence community is in an uproar and looking for a leaker. Let's bring in the panel: Michael Needham is chief executive officer at Heritage Action for America; A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at Real Clear Politics, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Michael, we have seen this before about WikiLeaks documents dumps, but, boy, this looks very detailed. And everything we are hearing from the intelligence community is it's authentic.

MICHAEL NEEDHAM, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: Yes. It's scary. It may mean we have another Edward Snowden inside our intelligence agencies, and that's something that should be very concerning to all Americans. It's not surprising that there's lots of intelligence programs out there that we don't know about. That's a good thing. I think what's most concerning is that if WikiLeaks can get access to some of this information, what do the Russians know? What do the Chinese know? And what does it mean for the effectiveness of some of these important programs?

BAIER: A.B., you saw Devin Nunes, the House intelligence committee chair not talk a lot about it, but also in here are ways that the CIA can make smart TVs and smartphones spy tools, cars, computerized cars, have access to them.

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: It's frightening, chilling stuff. Obviously the kind of technology that we want to spy on other countries, but it sparks a debate every time there are revelations like this, even those that are far less dramatic about what could happen here and what could happen to our own privacy in the country. It really is staggering how much the Snowden revelations and these types of revelation set us back in terms of revealing our sources and methods, set us back with our adversaries and our work in intelligence around the world. There is so much -- we lose 10 , 15 years of work at a time, an incredible amount of resources.

BAIER: Charles, obviously Trump supporters, their eyes perked up when they saw the cloaking of hacks that could be blamed on Russia that were really internal. And obviously people saying what does that all mean? But bottom line, it's a serious breach.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, I can see how it could open up a hall of mirrors about cloaking and disguising the so-called attacks on our democratic system. But the real story is I think this is worse than Snowden. It's one thing to disclose names and places and even operations, but once you are describing the sources and methods, that's the key to what we do.

And you've got to wonder, all the energy we spend on the vetting of, I don't know, Yemeni nationals trying to get into the country, ought we not be spending a bit more of our time and effort on the vetting of contractors? Snowden was a contractor for NSA. Presumably this person who is leaking or persons are contractors for CIA. This I think is our greatest weakness. A.B. is right. We could have lost a decade with this. But I will command the CIA for one thing -- their creativity in codenames. UMBRAGE is a beauty.

(LAUGHTER)

BAIER: We should point out that U.S. intelligence officials tell our own James Rosen that they had a lot of very high tech security measures that they are trying to figure out how that was all breached at this moment tonight. Let's take a listen to Sean Spicer answering a question about the president's talk about wiretapping today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he's sitting on information that he has found out, he's now directing or asking or recommending that the intelligence community look into it. And you talk about they have resources and staff, which they do, but why expend those resources and staff? If the president found out the situation --

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think there's a difference between directing the department of justice which may be involved in an ongoing investigation and asking Congress as a separate body to look into something and add credibility to the look. It adds an element that wouldn't necessarily be there if we were directing the department of justice, for example.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Michael, your thoughts on this as we continue to get the reverberations from the weekend tweets.

NEEDHAM: The whole wiretapping story depends on what the truth is. And that's why I think it is prudent to have the investigation and get the facts out there. Obviously if the relationship between the president and Russia is anything near what the left alleges, that would be horribly concerning. I think it seems somewhat fantastical.

On the other hand, I think part of the reason the president and so many others are getting as angry about the situation as they are is it's also extremely concerning. If there is a constant drip, drip out of the intelligence community of information used to undermine a president that they don't like, to undermine other political leaders that they don't like, and that is not what America should be about. So I think important for us to get the facts. The facts will tell us what's going on and what's at fault. And that's why I think that some sort of investigation is important.

BAIER: Let's stipulate that perhaps the president, even though he tweeted it directly about President Obama, was saying the Obama administration. Let's just stipulate that as conversation. Here is Devin Nunes talking about those tweets.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NUNES: The president is a neophyte to politics. He's been doing this a little over a year. And I think a lot of things he says you guys sometimes take literally. Sometimes he doesn't have 27 lawyers and staff looking at what he does, which is I think at times refreshing and at times can also lead us to have to be sitting in a press conference like this answering questions that you guys are asking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: But they are words, and words matter when they come from the Oval Office.

STODDARD: If they don't matter for the commander-in-chief, then I don't know what will. Devin Nunes is a respected member. It must have been a tough day for him to tell the media that we shouldn't take the words of the leader of the free world literally. It's just ridiculous. It's a reckless claim. The Republicans know it. Even if it was true, you don't make it on Twitter. You don't make accusations like that or observations like that. He could have talked to the FBI. He didn't.

BAIER: Where do you think this goes, Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think it goes nowhere. I think this is chasing our tails. This is going down the rabbit hole. And if I were looking for something beyond anger to explain why the president tweeted this, anger at his staff, anger at the situation, it would be that this is a guy who has said all along I don't attack. I counterattacked. When he was a businessman and he was sued, what did he do? He would countersue. You muddy it up. You end up in endless litigation. And then it disappears.

I think he thinks, and it probably is true, that this is going to end up as part of the Russian investigation. There is no evidence that any of this happened, the wiretap. On the other hand, there's no evidence yet that there was any attempt or collusion of the Trump campaign with the Russians. So we have a double investigation with no evidence. This, I think, we're going to look back on a year from now think what the hell were we doing?

BAIER: Final thing. Lindsey Graham, one of the president during the campaign's biggest opponents, senator from South Carolina, was at the White House today, and he had lunch with the president. He said "I had a great lunch meeting with President Trump today. He is strongly committed to rebuilding our military, which is music to my ears. President Trump is deal-making mode and I hope Congress is like-minded. How good was the meeting? I gave him my new cell phone number." You'll remember candidate Trump gave out Lindsey Graham's cell phone number in the campaign.

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