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Intelligence Chiefs Say NY Times Disclosures Damage National Security Work

Subsunk here.  If this doesn't piss you off, then you don't fog a mirror.

The National Intelligence Chiefs (DNI, CIA, NSA) today went on record, identifying the unauthorized disclosures of classified material through the New York Times and the Washington Post as "very severely" damaging intelligence collection programs vital to the security of the United States.  These are the men paid to run the most sensitive and highly classified intelligence collection programs in the world.  They know what they are talking about.

Yet Sen Jay Rockefeller (Dhimmicrat) has the gall to suggest that the leaks in question most probably came from the Executive branch and the President himself aided and abetted the leaks by saying, "The president has not only confirmed the existence of the program, he has spoken at length about it repeatedly," while keeping Congress in the dark.  This would be the same Jay Rockefeller who was briefed 21 times about these programs and had not "ball one" to register a complaint against them until the New York Times prints the classified information, and then the Dhimmicrats see an opportunity to make political hay out of it.  This is politics of the worst sort with national security information.

In the past, whenever classified information was disclosed through the press, the intelligence services would routinely refuse to comment on its veracity because you never want the enemy to know what is actually true and what is a wild exaggeration by the press.  They NEVER admit what is true or false.  However, they will always tell you how damaging the leaks are, if they are damaging.

I have never seen this characterized as "very severe" before.  As a submariner, I know about keeping classified information classified.  You don't talk about these things, no matter who asks.  If someone ever comes to you for verification, you simply say no comment or you don't know (because 9 times out of 10, you don't).

Read this and then write letters to your editor and to your Congresspersons letting them know you are outraged at the damage done to programs funded with your tax dollars to protect you, which have now been wasted by the NY Times, Washington Post, and lower level employees at the intelligence agencies, and staff members of Congress. Apparently, a federal grand jury probe has not yet been started into these leaks.  It is high time one began.  This hemorraghing of national secrets during wartime MUST be stopped.  Lives of our citizens depend on it.

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. intelligence officials told Congress on Thursday that disclosure of once-classified projects like President Bush's no-warrant eavesdropping program have undermined their work.

"The damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission," CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing disclosures about a variety of CIA programs that he suggested may have been compromised.

Goss said a federal grand jury should be empaneled to determine "who is leaking this information."

But Democratic members of the panel accused the Bush administration of wanting to have it both ways.

"The president has not only confirmed the existence of the program, he has spoken at length about it repeatedly," while keeping Congress in the dark, said Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the panel's senior Democrat.

Rockefeller suggested that such "leaks" most likely "came from the executive branch" of the government.

That brought a terse response from FBI Director Robert Mueller, who said, "It's not fair to point a finger as to the responsibility of the leak."

Read on below the fold, if you can stand it:

The sometimes pointed exchanges came as leaders of the nation's intelligence agencies appeared before the panel in a rare public session to give a rundown on threats facing the world.

Committee Democrats sought to change the focus to the president's decision to authorize the National Security Agency to eavesdrop - without first obtaining warrants - on communications to and from those in the United States and terror suspects abroad.

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, who oversees all intelligence activities, strongly defended the program, calling it crucial for protecting the nation against its most menacing threat.

"This was not about domestic surveillance," he said.

As an indication of how closely the administration held the NSA program, Paul McNulty, the acting deputy attorney general since October, said Thursday he learned of it only when he read about it in The New York Times.

Testifying at his Senate confirmation hearing, McNulty said he does not know whether information gathered through the warrantless surveillance has been used in prosecutions in the Alexandria, Va.-based federal judicial district where he has been the chief federal prosecutor since Sept. 2001.

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Goss complained that leaks to the news media about classified CIA programs - such as reported CIA secret prisons abroad - had damaged his own agency's work.

"I use the words 'very severe' intentionally. And I think the evidence will show that," he said.

Goss cited a "disruption to our plans, things that we have under way." Some CIA sources and "assets" had been rendered "no longer viable or usable, or less effective by a large degree," he said.

The revelations have also made intelligence agencies in other countries mistrustful of their U.S. counterparts, Goss said.

"I'm stunned to the quick when I get questions from my professional counterparts saying, 'Mr. Goss, can't you Americans keep a secret?"

Goss, when pressed, said he was speaking of programs run by the CIA, and would let NSA officials speak for themselves.

Gen. Michael Hayden, the principal deputy director of national intelligence and a former NSA director, said it was hard to characterize any damage done to his agency in an open session.

But, he said, "Some people claim that somehow or another our capabilities are immune to this kind of information going out into the public domain."

"And, I can tell you, in a broad sense, that is certainly not true."

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Negroponte told the panel that some 40 terror groups, insurgencies or cults have obtained or want chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

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Negroponte said great strides had been made in fighting global terrorism.

"We have eliminated much of the leadership that presided over al-Qaida in 2001," he said, "and U.S. -led counterterrorism efforts in 2005 continued to disrupt its operations, take out its leaders and deplete its cadre."

But, Negroponte added, the terror organization's core elements still plot and make preparations for terrorist strikes.

He suggested that "high impact attacks" would continue, and said al-Qaida continues to pursue chemical, biological and atomic weapons in hopes of attacking the United States.

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Read it and weep for your lost tax money, and the lives of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who have to make up for these leaks with harder and harder efforts for themselves, every day! Subsunk Out.

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