While White House press secretary Sean Spicer will not authenticate the documents released by WikiLeaks this week that the anti-secrecy group claims reveal the government’s most powerful hacking and surveillance tools, he is frustrated that more people aren't more outraged about their release.
“This should be a major concern to people in terms of the leaks that are coming out and the desire to get to the bottom of them,” Spicer said at a Wednesday afternoon briefing. “I think the idea that we are having these ongoing disclosures of national security and classified information should be something that everybody is outraged about in this country. This is the kind of disclosure that undermines our country, our security and our well-being. You've seen over the past two years, depending on the leak, it depends on the outrage.”
Spicer repeatedly said that the government's policy is to not confirm the authenticity of sensitive information that might have been leaked or hacked, but he also accused the media of not focusing enough on the national security implications of the information released by WikiLeaks, noting that there was “complete outrage” when emails related to Hillary Clinton were leaked or hacked. Spicer said the president is “extremely concerned about” the disclosure of any classified information and will fully prosecute anyone who leaks it.
Spicer reflected on how these alleged surveillance tools would have been at the disposal of the Obama administration, which President Trump has accused of wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower in New York. Spicer claimed that Fox News correspondent James Rosen had “multiple phones tapped” during an investigation by Obama's Justice Department into classified leaks and wondered aloud about “the damage that could have occurred or what tools could be used in light of what's been going on recently.”
A reporter noted that during the campaign, Trump embraced leaks — even declaring at a rally: “I love WikiLeaks!" — and she asked whether the president still feels that way.
Spicer said “there is a massive, massive difference” between the release of Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta's personal emails, in which he seemed to undermine the candidate, and the release of classified information.
“The interest and the outrage that occurred last year by a lot of Democrats when it came to leaks, it's interesting that we're hearing not as much outrage now when it comes to some of our issues of national security,” Spicer said.