Defending against U.S. intelligence leaks such as those committed by Edward Snowden and Julian Assange’s Wikileaks requires a “fundamental change” in the way that intelligence agencies deal with digital attacks and vulnerabilities, according to CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on Thursday, Pompeo condemned those who leaked classified information under the guise of altruism and whistleblowing, while acknowledging that there was more for agencies like the CIA to do to prevent leaks.
“There are steps that we have to take at home; in fact, this is a process that we have already started. We’ve got to strengthen our own systems, secure our own stuff,” Pompeo said. “And while I can’t go into detail about the exact steps, I can assure you, our defenses will not be static, our approach to security must be constantly evolving and we will. We need to be as collaborative and innovative as the enemies we face, because they will not relent and we will not either.”
According to Pompeo, the CIA needs to take three primary steps: Call out those who leak and publish information, harden internal defenses against leaks and attacks, and strive to be more open with the American public.
“There’s no quick fix, nothing foolproof, no instant cure, but there are steps that we can take to undercut the danger,” Pompeo said. “We can’t truly eliminate the threat, but we can mitigate and manage it, and this relies on a defense-in-depth, which we are preparing. It depends on a fundamental change in how we address digital problems, understanding best practices that evolve in real time.”