Policy & Strategy

House, Senate Intelligence committees planning legislation to stop security leaks

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees said Wednesday
they are planning to write legislation to attempt to stop classified national
security leaks.

As congressional outrage grows over recent leaks about a
U.S. cyberattack on Iran and a terrorist “kill list,” Director of National
Intelligence James Clapper is coming to Capitol Hill Thursday morning to meet
with the committee heads, Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Wednesday.

{mosads}Feinstein told reporters that they plan to discuss at the meeting “how we might stiffen up
the process that’s used to investigate 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 Committees said in a joint
statement Wednesday afternoon.

“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,” they said.

Feinstein said Thursday she was working with House
Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) to add provisions to this year’s
intelligence authorization bill that would address the leaks.

“I’m convinced what we need to do is codify a process, and
that the process that exists now is totally inadequate,” Feinstein told

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

The intelligence committees, which are holding a press
conference on the leaks Thursday, aren’t the only ones jumping on the Obama
administration over the disclosures.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) on
Tuesday called for a special counsel to investigate the leak, and the Senate
Armed Services Committee says it will hold hearings on the leaks, possibly with
Feinstein’s Intelligence Committee as well.

McCain, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, has
been the most vocal critic, accusing the White House of using the leaks to make
President Obama look like a “tough guy” on terror before the election.

The White House issued a sharp retort to McCain on
Wednesday, as press secretary Jay Carney said that accusations of political
motivations behind the leaks were “grossly irresponsible” — a remark that
prompted McCain to fire off his own statement using Carney’s words against the
Obama administration.

McCain, who said that he will be sitting in Thursday’s
meeting with Clapper, told reporters Wednesday he would likely support any
legislative efforts from Feinstein, but that he was most concerned with
tracking down the source of the Times’ leaks.

“I’m all for closing the barn door after the horse is gone,”
McCain said, “but I want to find out who did this.”

Tags Dianne Feinstein John McCain Saxby Chambliss
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