The newly installed director of intelligence is pressing members of the intelligence community to stop leaking confidential information to the press.
According to the Associated Press, James Clapper distributed a memo to spy personnel in the 16 agencies under his jurisdiction.
He said he was troubled by the string of recent leaks that revealed, for example, a strong tie between Afghan president Hamid Karzai and the CIA's station chief in Kabul.
Clapper, formerly the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said spies and other staff should be like his grandchildren: "seen but not heard."
The intelligence memo comes as the Pentagon continues its own battle with transparency group WikiLeaks over a pending document release.
The organization's most recent post — a CIA memo released Aug. 25 — has been called benign and uninformative.