Anyone involved in the WikiLeaks Vault 7 leak will face prosecution if the thousands of pages of details about CIA hacking tools is true, US Vice President Mike Pence has said.
"This president and this administration will take that [the leak] very seriously and use the full force of the law and resources of the United States to hold all of those to account that were involved," Pence told Fox News' Special Report host Bret Baier on Thursday 9 March.
On Tuesday 7 March WikiLeaks released 7,818 web pages and 943 attachments claiming to show how the CIA exploits holes in the computer code of devices like cell phones, smart TVs, and automobiles to gain control of them.
WikiLeaks has claimed that the initial leak represents just 1% of their entire cache of documents. But much of that is made up of millions of lines of computer code used to create the CIA hacking tools, which WikiLeaks' Julian Assange has said won't be released to the public.
According to the whistleblowing platform – which has served as the outlet for leaks about the Iraq War to the emails of Hillary Clinton's election campaign director – the documents date from 2013 to 2016 and were leaked by a former US government hacker or contractor.
"No resource will be spared in holding those accountable who have leaked information," Pence said, noting that, if authentic, the leak "would represent one of the most significant compromises of national security in recent memory."
Pence said that President Donald Trump has ordered that the authenticity of the leak be confirmed. On Thursday Donald Trump's associate, British politician Nigel Farage visited the Ecuadorian embassy where Assange has sought asylum. Farage refused to reveal who he had spoken to there. The FBI and CIA launched an investigation into the WikiLeaks release the same day.
Throughout the 2016 election campaign Trump praised WikiLeaks for its release of emails from the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party hacked by a Russian intelligence-linked outfit. "WikiLeaks! I love WikiLeaks!" Trump proclaimed at a rally in Pennsylvania in October.
Pence avoided questions from Fox about Trump's past support for WikiLeaks and whether it meant he would take a softer approach to the organisation, noting that the authenticity of the documents has not yet been proven.
"At the president's direction we're carefully examining these allegations, and if proven to be true and confirmed publicly," he said, "I can assure you that no resource will be spared in holding those to account who have leaked information that could well constitute a compromise of methods, and a compromise of our national security."