WikiLeaks releases CIA director’s emails

The whistleblowing group published six documents Wednesday, said to be accessed from John Brennan's 'non-government email account.' It is not clear whether they were obtained from this weekend's reported breach.

Yuri Gripas/Reuters/File
CIA Director John Brennan listens to remarks by President Barack Obama at the Director of National Intelligence Office to mark its 10th anniversary, in McLean, Virginia on April 24, 2015. The FBI and the Secret Service are investigating reports that CIA Director John Brennan's personal email had been hacked, although no classified information had been accessed, CNN said.

WikiLeaks, the organization best known for publishing classified documents such as those leaked by Chelsea Manning, has released documents it says came from CIA Director John Brennan’s email account.

“We have obtained the contents of CIA Chief John Brennan’s email account and will be releasing it shortly,” the group said on Twitter Wednesday.

Later that afternoon, WikiLeaks posted a total of six documents to its website.

Here’s what the files are said to include:

  • Brennan’s SF86, an application for top-secret security clearance
  • Brennan’s recommendations made in 2007 on “the conundrum of Iran”
  • Brennan’s 2007 paper on the “unprecedented” national security challenges facing the United States in the 21st century, in which he states “the Intelligence Community must never be subject to political manipulation and interference”
  • A 2008 letter from Vice Chairman of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Christopher S. Bond proposing to “preclude” the use of specific interrogation techniques that are prohibited under the Army Field Manual

The leak comes just days after the Secret Service and FBI said it was investigating reports of a hack of Director Brennan’s personal account.

On Sunday, an anonymous user claiming to be a high school student said he managed to break into the personal email accounts of Director Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, The Christian Science Monitor previously reported.

His Twitter account, @phphax, links to files that he says are Brennan's contact list, as well as former CIA deputy director Avril Haines’s phone logs.

“The good news for Mr. Brennan is that so far, no classified information appears to have been revealed,” wrote The New York Times. “For John O. Brennan, the director of the CIA, perhaps the worst part of the attack on his private email account was the revelation that until very recently, he used an AOL account.”

The high-profile cyberattack, however, raises concerns that go beyond questions about how secure – or hip – these top government representatives are.

It also points to the moral and political motivations often fueling these breaches, such as those said to be behind Team Impact, the group responsible for hacking the servers of Ashley Madison, a website facilitating extramarital affairs for its users, this summer. As it exposed the names and sensitive information of people who were allegedly being unfaithful to their spouses, the group was celebrated by some as an example of “moral vigilantism.”

For his part, the teenage hacker revealed on Sunday said that his motivations stem from an opposition to American foreign policy and a support for Palestine.

It is not yet clear whether the personal emails obtained by this hacker are tied to the ones WikiLeaks have just released, though the group has said the documents were accessed through a “non-government email account.” 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to WikiLeaks releases CIA director’s emails
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today