Spicer says 'massive difference' between CIA WikiLeaks leak and Podesta email leak

The latest from the White House press briefing.

March 8, 2017, 2:24 PM

— -- White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that even though Donald Trump praised WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign -- when it released troves of damaging emails from a key Hillary Clinton adviser -- he does not necessarily hold the same warm feelings for the anti-secrecy organization in light of the leaks of alleged CIA documents.

WikiLeaks released documents early Tuesday that the group claimed were thousands of secret CIA files detailing the agency's arsenal of hacker tools and efforts to covertly gain access to smartphones and smart TV's.

Spicer said he was not ready to comment on the alleged leak Tuesday. While he would not confirm the veracity of any of the information in the documents, Spicer said that President Trump would view them as dangerous if they are real.

"As you can imagine from the president’s previous comments [on leaks,] he is extremely concerned about this," Spicer said.

"Make no mistake about it, I think the president has talked before that anybody who leaks classified information will be held to the highest degree of law," he said.

Amidst swirling questions about Russia's interference in the 2016 election and alleged Trump associate contacts with suspected Russian officials during the campaign, Trump has decried leaks to the press and pushed for investigations into them.

That appears to strike a different tone from a campaign rally when Trump said "I love WikiLeaks!"

"There's a big difference between disclosing John Podesta's Gmail accounts about a back and forth and his undermining of Hillary Clinton and his thoughts on her on a personal nature and the leaking of classified information," Spicer said today.

Spicer added that the president's concerns likely stem from the threats that the information could pose to national security.

In the wake of the document release, the CIA released a statement declining to say whether the files were real or not.

"We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents," said CIA spokesperson Jonathan Liu.

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