CIA director: Moscow loves to 'stick it to America'

ASPEN, Colo. -- CIA director Mike Pompeo said Thursday that Russia is interested in staying in Syria, partly because its leaders "love to stick it to America."

Asked whether Russia is America's friend or adversary, Pompeo replied: "It's complicated."

He said he's happy to work with Moscow on counterterrorism issues, but it's clear Russians "find anyplace they can to make our lives more difficult."

Pompeo spoke at the Aspen Security Forum, an annual gathering of intelligence and national-security officials and experts in Aspen.

Pompeo also said Iran's work to gain a foothold in Syria is only one example of its aim to become the "kingpin" of the Middle East.

He also said he believes WikiLeaks will "take down America any way it can."

WikiLeaks is happy to work with Russia, China, Iran or even young American students at U.S. colleges and universities, Pompeo said, adding on its website, the anti-privacy group urges students to become CIA interns so they can become whistleblowers.

In a wide-ranging conversation at the forum, Pompeo acknowledged President Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign he loved WikiLeaks.

"I don't love WikiLeaks," Pompeo said.

Besides Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who leaked documents revealing extensive U.S. government surveillance, WikiLeaks has released nearly 8,000 documents it says reveal secrets about the CIA's cyberespionage tools for breaking into computers.

WikiLeaks previously published 250,000 State Department cables and embarrassed the U.S. military with hundreds of thousands of logs from Iraq and Afghanistan.