WASHINGTON (CN) - WikiLeaks on Tuesday published thousands of documents purportedly taken from the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence, a dramatic release that appears to expose intimate details of the spy agency's hacking activities.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a news release this morning that the 8,761 documents published online expose the "the entire hacking capacity of the CIA."
He touted Tuesday's data dump, or "Vault 7," as just one in a series of leaks to be released. The files are extensive, allegedly exposing more data than what was released in the Edward Snowden files.
WikiLeaks said that by the end of last year, the CIA's own hacking division, the Center for Cyber Intelligence, had more than 5,000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems.
Trained CIA hackers had also "utilized more code than that used to run Facebook" and had in effect created its own version of the National Security Agency, Assange claimed.
And all of this, "with even less accountability and without publically answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified," according to the statement.
"Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized 'zero day' exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation," the news release says. "This extraordinary collection ... gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA."
Assange added that the archive "appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner."
The release implies that it was one of these individuals who provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
This anonymous source, according to the release, had an urgent desire to see security and privacy policies "debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency."
"The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use and proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons," according to the statement.
Identifying names, locations and target information have been redacted in part, Assange said.
Those redactions, which number in the tens of thousands, include CIA targets and "attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States," the WikiLeaks editor said Tuesday.
"While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen," Assange added, "we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in Vault 7 part one (Year Zero) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks."
CIA spokeswoman Heather Fritz Horniack said over the phone that the agency "will not comment on the authenticity or the purported claims" found in the documents.
In a statement, Samsung, one of the technology firms whose products appear to have been hacked by the CIA said “protecting consumers’ privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung. We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter.”
Courthouse News is continuing to try to confirm the authenticity of the documents.