- Former CIA chief Gen. Michael Hayden appeared on CBS' Late Show on Tuesday
- Hayden says CIA doesn't eavesdrop on Americans by hacking into TV sets
- WikiLeaks revealed documents showing CIA capabilities of hacking into devices
The former head of the CIA sought to calm anxious Americans who may be worried that the vaunted US spy agency is eavesdropping through their smart television sets.
Gen. Michael Hayden told Stephen Colbert of CBS' Late Show on Tuesday that the CIA does not spy on Americans.
Earlier on Tuesday, WikiLeaks unveiled what it says are official CIA documents showing that the agency has the capability to hack into smartphones and televisions, which it then uses to spy on people.
'I can tell you that these tools would not be used against an American,' Hayden told Colbert.
When Colbert pressed the point as to why the CIA wouldn't use the technology to gather information about Americans, Hayden replied: 'There are some bad people in the world who have Samsung TVs too.'
The former head of the CIA, General Michael Hayden (left), sought to calm anxious Americans who may be worried that the vaunted US spy agency is eavesdropping through their smart television sets. Hayden appeared on CBS' Late Show with Stephen Colbert (right) on Tuesday
'I can tell you that these tools would not be used against an American,' Hayden told Colbert
'There are people out there that you want us to spy on. You want us to have the ability to actually turn on that listening device inside the TV to learn that person's intentions.'
The anti-secrecy organization on Tuesday published what it said were thousands of pages of internal CIA discussions about hacking techniques used over several years, renewing concerns about the security of consumer electronics and embarrassing yet another US intelligence agency.
The discussion transcripts showed that CIA hackers could get into Apple Inc iPhones, Google Inc Android devices and other gadgets in order to capture text and voice messages before they were encrypted with sophisticated software.
Cyber security experts disagreed about the extent of the fallout from the data dump, but said a lot would depend on whether WikiLeaks followed through on a threat to publish the actual hacking tools that could do damage.
The anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks on Tuesday published what it said were thousands of pages of internal CIA discussions about hacking techniques used over several years. The CIA logo is seen at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in this 2016 file photo
The discussion transcripts showed that CIA hackers could get into Apple Inc iPhones, Google Inc Android devices and other gadgets in order to capture text and voice messages before they were encrypted with sophisticated software
Reuters could not immediately verify the contents of the published documents, but several contractors and private cyber security experts said the materials, dated between 2013 and 2016, appeared to be legitimate.
A longtime intelligence contractor with expertise in US hacking tools told Reuters the documents included correct 'cover' terms describing active cyber programs.
Among the most noteworthy WikiLeaks claims is that the Central Intelligence Agency, in partnership with other US and foreign agencies, has been able to bypass the encryption on popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.
The files did not indicate the actual encryption of Signal or other secure messaging apps had been compromised.
Among the most noteworthy WikiLeaks claims is that the Central Intelligence Agency, in partnership with other US and foreign agencies, has been able to bypass the encryption on popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp (seen above), Telegram and Signal
One document claims that US and British personnel use a program known as Weeping Angel, which is capable of taking over a Samsung smart television (above), making it appear it was off when in fact it was recording conversations in the room
The information in what WikiLeaks said were 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments appears to represent the latest breach in recent years of classified material from US intelligence agencies.
Security experts differed over how much the disclosures could damage US cyber espionage.
Many said that, while harmful, they do not compare to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013 of mass NSA data collection.
'This is a big dump about extremely sophisticated tools that can be used to target individual user devices ... I haven't yet come across the mass exploiting of mobile devices,' said Tarah Wheeler, senior director of engineering and principal security advocate for Symantec.
Stuart McClure, CEO of Cylance, an Irvine, California, cyber security firm, said that one of the most significant disclosures shows how CIA hackers cover their tracks by leaving electronic trails suggesting they are from Russia, China and Iran rather than the United States.
Other revelations show how the CIA took advantage of vulnerabilities that are known, if not widely publicized.
In one case, the documents say, US and British personnel, under a program known as Weeping Angel, developed ways to take over a Samsung smart television, making it appear it was off when in fact it was recording conversations in the room.
Meanwhile, it was learned that FBI Director James Comey has canceled a scheduled public appearance at an Austin, Texas, music and arts festival where he was expected to address allegations of wiretapping made by President Donald Trump, according to The Washington Examiner.
Over the weekend, Trump dropped a bombshell by claiming that then-President Barack Obama ordered wiretaps of his phones at Trump Tower during the election campaign.
Comey has reportedly asked the Justice Department to push back on the claim.
The FBI chief was scheduled to appear Monday at SXSW in Austin, but event organizers put out a statement on Tuesday saying that he won't be able to attend due to 'scheduling conflicts.'
Latest Nigeria News
- Kasich says Trump needs to work with Democrats
- Georgia couple battles for the right to give surname Allah
- Daily Show's Trevor Noah mocks Queensland crocodile teen
- Woman killed two and injured another while high on drugs
- Australia's biggest dog Baron has qualified as a therapist
- Joan Crawford plot to kill Bette Davis' Oscar chances
- Trump didn't 'care' or 'know' about healthcare
- White House denies claim Trump gave Merkel $374B NATO bill
- The moment a flying sheet of ice destroys a windshield
- Two Australian men charged over $101 million ice bust
- Queenslanders ask category 4 Cyclone Debbie to bring it on
- Captain Cook's 1770 wine-stained vest goes up for sale
- Narre Warren woman attacked with an AXE at Westfield mall
- 'Everest has better web speed than parts of the UK'
- Coca-Cola diverts 'blame for obesity from sugar'
- Ted Koppel says Sean Hannity is bad for America on CBS
- Darwin rattled by 5.3 magnitude earthquake
- Sydney Trains boss warns terror attack is a real danger
- My prayers for jailed Marine, by former archbishop
- Leaving the EU will strengthen the union says PM
- Surfer, 23, misdiagnosed with asthma has tuberculosis
- London attacker Khalid Masood's friends reveal upbringing
- Detective claims Madeleine's abductor is being shielded
- Aunt raises three girls of her sister killed by a van
- When Joan Crawford met Mamacita: German immigrant maid
- Pete Evans hits back at Australian Medical Association
- One Nation’s Pauline Hanson to go on strike over sugar
- Sydney Greenpeace protest at Commonwealth Bank in CBD
- ISIS celebrate the Westminster terror attack to recruit
- Fears of a terror attack in London keep tourists away
- Sprint car driver, 42, killed in Florida speedway crash
- Nine in ten councils putting up tax bills next month
- Three arrested in alleged sexual assault case of child
- Trump supporter hits anti-fascist protester with MAGA flag
- Westminster killer's two daughters
- Westminster killer was flagged as a potential extremist
- Dog mourns death of his master who was gunned down
- Harry's in a hurry to move Meghan into his new home
- Transport officer drops to ground as man pulls out a gun
- Cameron aide's uber 'cover up'