By Susan Crabtree - 10/07/10 06:24 PM EDT
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, renewed his call for the firing of Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan — this time for alleged White House leaks about the Times Square bomber.
King said several leaks about the case came from the White House and disrupted FBI efforts to capture Faisal Shahzad, who attempted to detonate a bomb in New York City’s Times Square in early May.
“The leaks in that case — and the F.B.I. had to investigate it — were leaks coming from the White House, which compromised the investigation here in New York,” King told a local Fox News affiliate in an interview Thursday. “And you can talk to any ranking police official in New York, and they will tell you that information leaked by the administration during that investigation put the lives of police officers at risk, lives at the FBI at risk and almost allowed Shahzad to escape.”
King also said the White House had tipped off television trucks about the location of Shahzad’s home and his expected imminent capture and arrest. The leaks to the media tipped off Shahzad, who nearly escaped on a plane bound for Dubai.
The administration has yet to respond to King's charges.
“That is the White House — that is the administration — they are the ones who leaked,” he said. “They are a disgrace, and I put that at the feet of John Brennan who, to me, should be fired and removed as head of homeland security in the White House.”
This is the second time King has called for Brennan’s ouster. King first called for his firing in April when he accused Brennan of interfering with Congress’s oversight on key intelligence matters. At the time, King was incensed to learn about the new Transportation Security Administration’s aviation security measures in news accounts rather than receiving a full briefing before publicly announcing the new steps.
King's accusations about leaks come a day after a setback for the Obama administration’s effort to prosecute terrorism cases in federal court. A U.S. judge Wednesday refused to allow a key witness to testify in the first criminal trial of a terrorism suspect from the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is charged with conspiring with Islamic militants to bomb the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, has been delayed until Tuesday. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said he would not allow the witness to testify because he believed he had been coerced into agreeing to speak against Ghailani.
King has sharply criticized the administration’s decision to allow some suspected terrorists, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, to be tried in federal civilian courts.