Frankfurt U.S. consulate houses CIA cyber hacking centre, says WikiLeaks

According to documents released by WikiLeaks, the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt is a CIA “hacking centre” for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

FRANKFURT, GERMANY (MARCH 8, 2017) (REUTERS) – Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Tuesday (March 7) published what it said were thousands of pages of internal Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) discussions about hacking techniques used over several years, renewing concerns about the security of consumer electronics and embarrassing yet another U.S. intelligence agency.

The documents, whose authenticity could not be verified by Reuters, were made available online and represent the first part of a series of disclosures on the U.S. intelligence agency’s “hacking capabilities,” according to WikiLeaks.

According to the documents, the CIA is using the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a “hacking centre” for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

U.S. agents equipped with diplomatic passports operate as purported U.S. state department employees, the WikiLeaks documents said.

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 U.S. hacking tools told Reuters the documents included correct “cover” terms describing active cyber programmes.

Among the most noteworthy WikiLeaks claims is that the CIA, in partnership with other U.S. and foreign agencies, has been able to bypass the encryption on popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.

In one case, the documents say, U.S. and British personnel, under a programme 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.

The CIA and White House declined comment. “We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents,” CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said in a statement.