CIA Director Mike Pompeo opened up in a rare interview with MSNBC on Saturday claiming that he believes U.S. intelligence leaks are on the rise, fueled partially by the "worship" of leakers, such as Edward Snowden, according to The Associated Press.
"In some ways, I do think it's accelerated," Pompeo said. "I think there is a phenomenon, the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandizement or money or for whatever their motivation may be, does seem to be on the increase."
As a result, Pompeo said that the U.S. needs to ramp up its efforts to stem leaks of classified information, though, he recognizes that comes with a few challenges.
"It's tough. You now have not only nation states trying to steal our stuff, but non-state, hostile intelligence services, well-funded -- folks like WikiLeaks, out there trying to steal American secrets for the sole purpose of undermining the United States and democracy," Pompeo said.
Pompeo's remarks come in the midst of a trove of media reports citing unnamed sources regarding the Russia investigation, as well as the recent release of former Army private Chelsea Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of violating the Espionage Act. Former President Obama commuted her 35-year sentence. She was released from prison in mid May.
But there's no conversation about intel leaks without mentioning Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
Assange and his online organization drew scrutiny this past election cycle after publishing a trove of personal documents that appeared to belong to Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
And besides the "high profile" Snowden-WikiLeaks cases, there's former NSA contractor Harold Thomas Martin III of Maryland who was accused of removing highly classified information, storing it an unlocked shed, and in his home and car.
According to court documents, investigators seized at least 50 terabytes of information, or enough to fill roughly 200 laptop computers.