WikiLeaks has suggested that its founder, Julian Assange, should head the "impenetrable" US-Russia cybersecurity unit proposed by US President Donald Trump on Twitter over the weekend. On Sunday (9 July), Trump said he discussed forming a cybersecurity unit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to deal with election hacking and "many other negative things."
"I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I've already given my opinion," Trump tweeted on Sunday. "Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!
"Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded and safe."
In response to Trump's announcement, WikiLeaks tweeted: "Why not put @JulianAssange in charge of it? He's trusted by the public and has the CIA's best stuff anyway".
Assange has been residing at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to the US where he could face espionage charges over the publication of thousands of classified documents given to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning. In May, Sweden dropped its 7-year-old probe into Assange over rape allegations.
Wikileaks' post also included a link to a press release from March announcing the series of "Vault 7" exposing the CIA's wide-ranging hacking and cyberspying tools and capabilities. The series of leaks has been dubbed the "largest ever publication" of confidential CIA documents and highlights the various tools used by the spy agency to hack into various OS and devices.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo has previously slammed WikiLeaks as a "non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia." He also described Assange as a coward and a narcissist.
Trump's announcement of the cybersecurity unit was met with fierce condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans, given the fierce scrutiny of the Trump administration amid allegations of Russian interference in the election.
In January, the CIA, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency concluded that Putin ordered a complex "influence campaign" to undermine American democracy, hurt Clinton's campaign and help Trump win the presidency.
A federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and alleged ties between Trump's campaign and Moscow is currently ongoing. Moscow has denied any involvement in the election while Trump says his campaign did not collude with Moscow.
"It's not the dumbest idea I have ever heard but it's pretty close," Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told NBC's "Meet the Press".
Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that Russia cannot be considered a credible partner in a cybersecurity unit.
"If that's our best election defense, we might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow," he said.
Following the massive outrage over the proposed cybersecurity unit with Russia, Trump later backtracked saying he did not think it could happen.