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WikiLeaks publishes CIA chief's e-mails

By Agence France-Presse in Washington | China Daily | Updated: 2015-10-23 07:54

The anti-secrecy campaign group WikiLeaks published an initial tranche of documents on Wednesday it said were from the personal e-mail account of CIA director John Brennan.

The leak is hugely embarrassing for Brennan, and WikiLeaks said more files would be released "in the coming days".

Though there did not immediately appear to be any top-secret documents in the leak, it includes a 47-page background check questionnaire from a security clearance application Brennan apparently made in 2008.

It lists several of his friends and associates, as well as a detailed work history and a slew of other personal and family details.

One of the names listed - along with a phone number - is George Tenet, who directed the CIA from 1996 to 2004. A woman who answered the phone at the number given said Tenet was not speaking to the press.

The release also includes a 2008 letter from Christopher "Kit" Bond, then vice-chairman of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, calling for a ban of certain "harsh interrogation techniques".

The WikiLeaks release comes days after it was reported that a teenage hacker had broken into Brennan's AOL account and had taken mails and personal data.

For many computer users, AOL is synonymous with the days of the early Internet, when the company offered dial-up access. The apparently low-tech method the hacker employed to access the account is sure to spark controversy in Washington.

'Social engineering'

The hacker claimed he accessed the account by using a process called "social engineering" in which he tricked Verizon workers into divulging Brennan's personal information, then convinced AOL to reset his password.

The CIA did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but said it may release a statement later on Wednesday.

The FBI and Secret Service are investigating the claims, which, if true, would be a major humiliation for US intelligence after a string of high-profile leaks.

Earlier this week The New York Post reported that a hacker describing himself as an American high school student had called reporters to describe his exploits.

Using his purported Twitter account - @phphax - the hacker taunted authorities with redacted images of what appeared to be government information.

The Twitter account said the hacker is 13 years old, and expresses support for the Palestinian cause.

(China Daily 10/23/2015 page11)

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