"These ongoing leaks of classified information are extraordinarily harmful to our intelligence operation. Every day we ask our intelligence officers and agents to be out there on the front lines, putting their lives in harm's way, gathering information, meeting sources, and using a variety of highly sensitive collection techniques. Depending on where these officers are around the world, the operating environment can be both dangerous and downright hostile. This means that they have to be as much or more on guard to ensure that operations don't get blown and their own lives and the lives of other sources are not jeopardized.
But each time classified information shows up in the media, the intelligence community's ability to do these dangerous assignments becomes that much more difficult. Not only do these leaks tell our enemies how we do our jobs and, therefore, how they can block or impede our efforts, but with each leak, our friends and allies are left to wonder how much they can really trust us with their own secrets.
Now, these are not hypothetical concerns. Sen. McCain alluded to a couple of anecdotes, and also a few weeks ago, in the middle of an ongoing operation, we all, friends and enemies alike, learned the details of efforts to disrupt an Al Qaeda bomb plot to a civilian aircraft. Up to that point, most members of Congress knew nothing about this operation. That's how sensitive we were told this information was. Unfortunately, rather than quietly recognize our and, frankly, our partners' success and moving on with the business of protecting the American people, some in the administration apparently decided that scoring political points in an election year outweighed protecting our intelligence operations and our liaison relationship with our intelligence partners around the world.
Whether we could have learned more from an operation that was cut short by this leak will now never be known, but we've been warned by some of our allies that they will think twice before they trust highly classified information with us. Unfortunately, the leak of the airline plot was no isolated incident. From kill lists to cyber warfare, it appears that nothing is off-limits, nothing is too secret, no opinion is too sensitive, and no source is too valuable to be used as a prop in this election-year posturing. And now the doctor who is associated with the Bin Laden operation appears to be paying the price for this posturing. Following public disclosures of his involvement, he's been sentenced to a true life sentence of 33 years in prison in Pakistan. This hardly provides incentive for anyone else to help us.
These disclosures, whether quietly sanctioned or not, are simply unacceptable and they are against the law. This administration reminds us repeatedly that they are prosecuting more people for leaking classified information than ever before, and I support that effort. But as we hold ordinary government employees accountable for violating their oaths to protect our nation's secrets, we must also hold the most senior administration officials accountable."