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August 10, 2007

Top Intel Republicans are leaking classified information!
Posted by Moira Whelan

First of all, lets clarify. It is not okay. Ever.

Peter Hoekstra in the New York Post told the world that the US intel budget cut human intelligence. Hat tip: Raw Story. Justin Rood develops the story a bit.

Rood also points out that:

   On July 31, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio said: "There's been a ruling, over     the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States."

    Government officials have since confirmed to reporters that Boehner was discussing classified information, although the GOP leader denies it.

In his defense, Boehner only told one person: Neil Cavuto. He is after all, on their team. The problem was the live television camera that was rolling at the time.

So yes, we are all outraged. Lets take a step back, however, and realize that these are two top Republicans in the House capable of learning the super-double top secret information. (Some is so classified, only the leaders and the intel chairs learn about it). They are then choosing to talk about these issues in a political setting and to push political agendas.

So the question of the day...which is more detrimental to our intelligence...the actual leaking of the information so our enemies can use it, or the use of the information by the leaker to manipulate it for a particular political agenda?

As a bonus (and a shout out to Gonzo and the entire White House staff), what about NOT providing classified information when it is requested?

"Wreckless" simply isn't strong enough to describe this.


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Well, "wreckless" would be the wrong word, wouldn't it? I've been driving wrecklessly for years, and have saved a lot of money thereby, but I can't think of how one could leak intelligence wrecklessly.

You could argue that Rep. Boehner didn't know the information was classified, or that his interview shouldn't count as a leak because the information disclosed therein was already available. Those were the arguments made on behalf of the leakers in the Plame case. In any event, though, the choice presented here is moot, because the leak wouldn't have happened had it not been politically useful. Well, to the President anyway. What good it did Boehner I can't see. He's got a safe seat; he'll be around long after Bush is gone. And the key vote on the FISA changes was in the Senate, not the House. Boehner didn't have to say anything in public about this subject. All he gets out of it is some exposure on the Cavuto show -- big deal -- and another autographed picture with George Bush to add to his collection.

It is ironic that the Republicans defend Boehner and Libby for leaking classified documents, but want to prosecute the whistleblowers who cooperated with the New York Times on the NSA wiretap story.

Wreckless? Oh, come on. Neither of the items you cited should have been classified in the first place.

Memo to Moira: Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck! But at least we learned when it's OK to leak classified material. When Bob Narus feels it shouldn't have been classified in the first place.

Well, feel free to explain why either of those statements (one of which was factually incorrect, by the way) should have been classified. There is way too much classification going on, to the point that it is hard to impossible to have a public debate about intelligence issues. Hence the need to look the other way whenever someone on either side of the aisle lets slip some innocuous tidbit like the trend of spending on human intelligence.

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