News / USA

Congressional Leaders: Recent Intel Leaks Have Hurt US Security

Cindy Saine
CAPITOL HILL - The four bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees have sharply criticized recent leaks to the press about ongoing covert operations and are promising to take action to try to stop such leaks.  The leaders met Thursday in a closed meeting with National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

In a rare show of unity in an often polarized Congress, the four top Republican and Democratic intelligence committee leaders came together to condemn a recent spate of leaks about secret U.S. intelligence operations.  The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Mike Rogers, said the leaks are the most serious he has ever seen.

"To have all four of us to come forward today, and talk about the severity of these leaks, I hope sends a very clear message," said Rogers.

Among recent leaks that have made headlines is a New York Times story alleging covert U.S. efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear program through cyber attacks and stories about U.S. drone attacks.  Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said there have been too many leaks recently.

"I think it goes without saying that all of us are extremely upset about the fact that, not only have leaks occurred, but there has been just a cascade of leaks coming out of the intelligence community over the last several weeks and months, and it is our clear intention to put a stop to this," said Chambliss.

Earlier this week, Republican Senator John McCain stirred controversy by saying that one could draw the conclusion from reading recent articles that the leaks are an attempt "to further the president's political ambitions for the sake of his re-election at the expense of U.S. national security."  The White House angrily rejected the comments, calling them absurd.  White House spokesman Jay Carney said "any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible."

At a news conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, the four intelligence leaders did not blame the White House for the leaks, saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating them and that House committees will also investigate the leaks and they did not want to judge prematurely. Senator Dianne Feinstein said she is not interested in a special prosecutor to investigate the leaks, because that could take years.  Feinstein said she wants to put forward bipartisan legislation soon to try to minimize any such leaks of sensitive information in the future. She said she is not blaming anyone at this point.

"This is not finger-pointing [casting blame] at anybody," said Feinstein. "What we are trying to do is say we have a problem, and we want to stop that problem.  We are not finger-pointing."

The congressional leaders were also to meet with FBI Director Robert Mueller to discuss the leaks.  Senator Feinstein said the leaks could prompt U.S. allies to be reluctant to participate in intelligence operations with the United States and could put lives in danger.

You May Like

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Indian PM Calls for Unity Amid Tense Climate Over Beef Attacks

Recent series of beef-related incidents seen as signs of rising intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities More

Why These Are New York City's Most Treasured Spaces

Under threat of jail time and fines, some New York property owners are not allowed to renovate their spaces without prior approval More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs