House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today expressed concern about the effect of classified leaks on national security at a Crime Subcommittee hearing in Washington. From information that appeared in the New York Times revealing cyber operations in Iran, to reports on a secret "kill list" that the President uses to determine who will be targeted by drones, there's been a marked increase in the amount and quality of leaked information within the last few months.
The hearing explored the dangers of recent leaks of national security information, the implications for American security and foreign relations and the steps Congress can take to reduce the leaking of national security secrets.
Chairman Smith: "Recent leaks of highly classified information pose a serious threat to our national security. Both Republican and Democrat administrations experts have expressed outrage over the leaks and the effect they have on ongoing and future operations.
"What sets these leaks apart from other leaks we have seen is that the media reports that many of these leaks have come from highly-placed Obama administration officials. If true, this means that Administration officials are weakening our national security and endangering American lives.
"News publications that publicize classified information claim to promote increased government transparency. But I wonder if their real motivation is self-promotion and increased circulation. They claim to be in pursuit of uncovering government wrongdoing but dismiss any criticism that their actions may be wrong or damaging to the country.
"I hope the Justice Department will bring the full force of the law against those who leaked protected information. We can judge whether the Administration is willing to conduct a serious and objective investigation by considering two facts: 1) whether they will hold Administration officials responsible, and 2) whether the investigation is completed before the general election. Otherwise, the American people rightly can conclude that the Administration is hiding the truth and has endangered American security and American lives."