WikiLeaks Releases Alleged CIA Hacking Methods

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UNITED STATES  --  WikiLeaks is back in the news with a document dump claiming the CIA targeted gadgets like smart phones as part of a surveillance program.

The hacks allow the CIA to collect audio and data from some widely-used apps. On Tuesday, both the former head of the CIA and notorious leaker Edward Snowden agree this may be a big deal.

NBC's Blayne Alexander reported on the full story.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is calling the 8,700 page release--called Vault Seven--the "largest ever publication of confidential documents" on the CIA, and former CIA Director Michael Hayden calls the exposure of hundreds of alleged CIA hacking secrets dangerous.

"If it is that, it would be very, very damaging," he said.

The documents show the CIA's use of several mobile messaging apps to monitor conversations, as well as another reported tactic of turning smart TVs into microphones record conversations.

"All of the intelligence communities' activities are directed at foreign targets: foreign terrorists and foreign government officials overseas," said former CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash.

On Twitter, Edward Snowden responded, calling the leaks "genuinely a big deal."

Assange said part of the reason WikiLeaks released the information is because of concern about CIA overreach. He believes there needs to be conversation about whether the tactics exceed the CIA's mandated powers.

WikiLeaks did redact some information including agents' names that could be potentially damaging or harmful to the U.S.

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