News & Politics

Wikileaks Password Echoed JFK's Anti-CIA Quote

The "Conservative Tribune" serves up a liberal story with a grain of truth.

Photo Credit: Conservative Tribune

The story "Wikileaks Vault 7 Password Is Nod to Anti-CIA JFK Quote," from the Conservative Tribune, is making the rounds on social media. 

More than 28,000 people like it, so it has the ring of truthiness, if not truth. 

Vault 7 is a webpage created by the whistleblowing group Wikileaks to display the group's recent headline-grabbing collection of purloined files about CIA hacking operations around the world.

The Conservative Tribune, an anonymous outfit that seems to be based in Anthem, Arizona, asserts that Wikileaks "posted to Twitter the following password for Vault 7: 'SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds.'"

"That password was a subset of words spoken by President John F. Kennedy 54 years ago, only a month before he was assassinated," according to the conservative news site.

The story is accurate—mostly.

The Real Story

Wikileaks did use the JFK quote as a password for early users of the Vault 7 site.

And President John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, did indeed speak of "splintering the CIA into a thousand pieces." CT links to a real New York Times story from 1966, which contains the quote.

But the Times story also shows that Kennedy did not utter those words a month before he was assassinated in November 1963.

In fact, JFK spoke of breaking up the CIA in the spring of 1961. The CIA's attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro in Cuba had just failed spectacularly. Kennedy vented angrily about the agency, and briefly considered suggestions to abolish it.

And now the story is passe. You no longer need a password to get into Wikileaks Vault 7.

The password was real. The JFK quote was real. The dating of the quote was fictional. And the combination of the three attracted the attention of many thousands of eyeballs and generated considerable ad revenue for the right-wing site.


Jefferson Morley is AlterNet's Washington correspondent. He is the author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (St. Martin's Press).

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