Intelligence authorities have typically questioned suspected leakers about revealing classified information to those with foreign ties. But a flood of recent leaks about U.S. counterterrorism operations in Iran has upset intelligence officials and Congress and has government intelligence authorities tightening up on releasing intelligence information.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper announced on July 25 two immediate actions aimed at protecting national security information from unauthorized disclosures. These involve new polygraph rules and independent investigations.
New polygraph tests will now ask intelligence officials if they have disclosed any restricted information. The intelligence community’s Inspector General will be given further authority to investigate occurrences of illegal disclosures.
Until now, the focus of polygraphs has been primarily on leaks to foreign sources. But the new rules will scrutinize our intelligence officials on leaks to U.S. national sources as well. Such sources include the press. Lyndy Kyzer, of Lyndy Kyzer Communications, says the “new requirements will likely increase the hesitancy” of some intelligence professionals to talk to the press.
Greg Miller of the Washington Post on July 30 said the new anti-leak measure approved by a Senate Committee “would all but eliminate a long-standing practice in Washington in which senior intelligence analysts occasionally provide what are known as ‘background briefings‘ for reporters.”
Such briefings are essential to the press’ understanding the context of their stories and presenting the information in a full and accurate way.
If the Senate bill passes and becomes law it would now allow CIA analysts and other intelligence authorities to provide background information and analyses regarding unclassified national security issues unless the experts are named.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, recently admitted that she knew of no such briefings compromising government security information.
Republican Senator Richard Burr (North Carolina) last week introduced a bill that would revoke the security clearances of persons who disclose covert actions. The bill is named the Deterring Public disclosure of Covert Actions Act of 2012.
To speak with a national security clearance lawyer, contact The Edmunds Law Firm.