Jim Kouri
June 11, 2012
Lawmakers suspect intelligence leaks emanate from White House
By Jim Kouri

Since 2011, when the GOP took control of the House of Representatives, President Barack Obama has all but begged the Democrats and Republicans to work together in both houses of Congress. Unfortunately a bi-partisan investigation of the White House over alleged intelligence leaks was obviously not what Obama had in mind on Friday.

In spite of denials on Friday by members of the Obama administration that recent intelligence leaks emanated from the White House — leaks that allegedly compromised national security interests — lawmakers from both Houses of Congress and from both political parties are contemplating new legislation to combat what amounts to espionage, according to a Law Enforcement Examiner source within a federal police agency.

Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees told various print and broadcast news outlets that they are planning to propose new legislation in an attempt to stop leaks of classified intelligence and increase the penalties for leaking secrets.

The recent leaks regarding a U.S. cyber-attack against Iran's nuclear-program computers and the so-called "Obama Terrorist Kill List" created even more outrage than two previous leaks that endangered one "intelligence asset" and caused another to be imprisoned in Pakistan.

Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told reporters that they plan to discuss "how we might stiffen up the process that's used to investigate [intelligence and security] leaks."

"The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable," the Intelligence Committee Chairwoman said in a statement released on Friday.

"Each disclosure puts American lives at risk, makes it more difficult to recruit assets, strains the trust of our partners, and threatens imminent and irreparable damage to our national security in the face of urgent and rapidly adapting threats worldwide," she said.

Feinstein noted that she was cooperating with House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) to add an addendum to the 2013 Intelligence Authorization. The additional provision would define the leaking of classified material as a serious felony even if it is to a well-known news organization or reporter.

The House has already passed its intelligence authorization bill, and Feinstein said she was working with Rogers on the Senate version so that any additions could be included during the House-Senate conference committee process.

The intelligence committees, which held press conferences on Thursday and Friday, have indicated their suspicion that the leaks came from President Barack Obama's White House.

Senator John McCain, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, shocked many in Washington, D.C. and throughout the nation when he accused members of the White House staff of leaking secrets in order to make President Obama appear to be a tough Commander-in-Chief just before the November election.

"What is grossly irresponsible is the leaking of details about a classified counterterrorism 'kill list' by 'administration officials' and one 'official' who even requested anonymity 'to speak about what is still a classified program,'" said McCain in his statement.

"With a troubled economic picture and millions of jobless Americans, Obama appears to be falling back on his national security achievements. The problem is that the man who helped the U.S. locate and kill Osama bin Laden is in prison in Pakistan because he helped the U.S. Plus the guy who infiltrated al-Qaeda in Yemen and was able to obtain a new version of an "underwear bomb" had his cover blown by White House leaks," said former police detective and military intelligence officer Michael Snopes.

"These people should be ashamed of themselves, but I fear all they care about is winning in November," he added.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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