White House refuses to comment on Wikileaks documents

The leaked files appear to reveal details of a CIA 'global covert hacking program'

White House refuses to comment on Wikileaks documents

Sean Spicer. Picture by: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

The White House has refused to comment on Wikileaks files - which appear to show how British and American spies could break into household smart devices.

Wikileaks released 8,761 documents yesterday, which it described as the "largest ever publication" of confidential CIA documents.

Wikileaks said the documents - dubbed 'Year Zero' - "introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of 'zero day' weaponized exploits against a wide range of US and European company products [including] Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones".

The organisation highlighted a claim that intelligence agencies can target individual smartphones to intercept message traffic before software encryption is applied.

A CIA spokesman said the intelligence agency would not "comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents".

However, experts - including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden - say they appear to be authentic.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the claims at a media conference.

He responded: "I'm not going to comment on that. Obviously that's something that has not been fully evaluated. If it was, I would not comment from here on that."

Meanwhile, Open Whisper Systems - the group behind the encryption software used by the Signal and WhatsApp messaging apps - said the leaks appear to show its software is working.

"The CIA/Wikileaks story today is about getting malware onto phones, none of the exploits are in Signal or break Signal Protocol encryption," the group explained in a series of Twitter posts.

"The story isn't about Signal or WhatsApp, but to the extent that it is, we see it as confirmation that what we're doing is working. Ubiquitous [end-to-end] encryption is pushing intelligence agencies from undetectable mass surveillance to expensive, high-risk, targeted attacks," it added.