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WikiLeaks Releases Documents Purportedly From CIA Director's Personal Email

CIA Director John Brennan listens during a news conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in December 2014.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais
CIA Director John Brennan listens during a news conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in December 2014.

WikiLeaks has released a cache of documents that the website says come from the AOL email account of Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan.

The documents purportedly include Brennan's security clearance application with personal information as well as the names, addresses and telephone numbers of many of his acquaintances, including high-profile ones like former CIA Director George Tenet. In another document, Brennan appears to give advice on how to deal with Iran to the incoming Obama administration.

As we've reported, the cache of documents was apparently accessed by hackers who have described themselves as young pot smokers, who say they used publicly available information to persuade AOL to reset Brennan's password. The hackers say they disagree with U.S. foreign policy.

In a statement, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the hack was a "crime" against the Brennan family.

"The private electronic holdings of the Brennan family were plundered with malicious intent and are now being distributed across the web," Boyd said. "This attack is something that could happen to anyone and should be condemned, not promoted."

On a Twitter account that has been used by the alleged hackers, they made no mention of giving the documents to WikiLeaks. The last tweet came on Oct. 19:

The documents released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday, however, are generally in line with what the hackers claimed to have stolen.

In the Iran document, written in late 2007, Brennan says that Iran is a "major player on the world stage" and it is in the interest of United States to "establish a direct dialogue with Tehran."

"The appointment of a U.S. presidential envoy to Iran is long overdue," he purportedly writes. "The argument that such an appointment would be premature as long as Iran is on the Department of State's list of state sponsors of terrorism is without merit and foundation; the United States has diplomatic relations with Syria, also on the list, and has appointed Presidential envoys to North Korea and Sudan."

The CIA's Boyd said that so far none of the documents released appear to be classified.

"In fact, they appear to be documents that a private citizen with national security interests and expertise would be expected to possess," Boyd said in a statement.

Here are a couple of other highlights from the documents released so far:

-- In faxed document from 2008, the CIA appears to take shots at The Analysis Corp., or TAC, a private company founded by Brennan.

TAC had apparently launched a protest over losing a contract. The CIA says its protest is disingenuous and parts of it are "demonstrably false."

In the document, the CIA says the company submitted "far inferior" proposals than other companies.

In fact, when it was rated by the CIA, four of its seven ratings were "marginal or below," while its three competitors received seven of seven ratings at "satisfactory or above."

-- In a 2007 position paper that appears to be written by Brennan, he advocates for the director of national intelligence and the director of the CIA to be on 10-year appointments.

"We need to take these positions out of the cycle of partisan political appointments and, at the same time, ensure needed continuity at the helm of U.S. Intelligence," Brennan writes.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.