House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) blamed administration “chest-thumbing” for the leak of information over an intelligence operation which thwarted a plot to bomb an America-bound airliner.
“I think there was a little premature chest-thumbing,” said Rogers on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I’ve ordered a preliminary review. And I’ll tell you something, this has been a damaging leak. We shouldn’t underestimate what really happened here.”
Last week, administration officials announced that the CIA, working with foreign intelligence services, had disrupted a plot involving non-metallic explosive elements which were intended to be concealed in underwear and detonated aboard a commercial airliner.
Officials captured the explosive device after the intended suicide bomber, a double agent who won his way into the terrorist group's inner circle, turned over the materials to intelligence services.
Rogers was asked by host Bob Schieffer if he believed information about the operation was leaked to the press by administration officials “to take credit for it.”
“I said chest-thumping, but it clearly raises some serious questions that we are going to have to ask,” responded Rogers. “We do know that the CIA was trying to stop the story and we know that there was a scheduled White House or at least planned press conference on the particular event. Those two disparate positions lead one to believe that someone was at odds over how much they should or shouldn’t talk about it.
“It’s clear that the information was leaked. That information as presented at some point to the CIA,” added Rogers. “The CIA at that point tried to put the story back in the can for security reasons. People’s lives were at stake during this operation. And that’s where it gets a little murky, which is why I ordered the review. “
Schieffer also asked Rogers if played “straight” with him over the sensitive operation.
“Unfortunately, no,” said Rogers, who noted that he had not received advanced briefings on the operation. “Nobody thought, at the White House, thought it was important enough to live up to the constitutional and statutory rule to notify Congress. “
The thwarted operation was also linked to a series of drone strikes in Yemen which targeted the terrorists behind the plot. More U.S. drone attacks were carried out in that country this weekend.
“We can’t talk about specific operational details or how it’s accomplished, but the good news is we didn’t find Yemen last week. We have been well on to Yemen for some time, building the capacity so we could take necessary steps as they present themselves thorough intelligence gathering to bring folks to justice,” said Rogers.