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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Well, I am dying to hear his explanation too, let me say that.
First of all, let me say that I join in with everything my two colleagues have said with respect to, No. 1, the volume of the leaks that have come out in recent weeks. We all know this town has a tendency to leak information from time to time, but never in the volume and never with the sensitivity of the leaks we have read about on the front page of newspapers around the country as we have seen in the last few weeks.
Irrespective of where they came from, to have folks who may be implicated in the White House, and the White House appointing the two individuals who have been charged with the duty of prosecuting this investigation, reeks of ethical issues. I don't know these two U.S. attorneys, but everything I know about them is they are dadgum good prosecutors and they are good lawyers. But why would we even put them in the position of having to investigate in effect the individual who appointed them to the position they are in? That is why we are arguing that a special counsel is, without question, the best way to go. I am interested to hear the response from my friend from Illinois to that issue.
Let me talk about something else for a minute, and that is the impact these leaks have had on the intelligence community. The No. 1 thing that individuals who go on the intelligence committees in both the House and the Senate are told--and I know because I have served on both of them and continue to serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee--is to be careful what you say. Be careful and make sure you don't inadvertently--and obviously advertently--reveal classified information. Be sure that in your comments you never reveal sources and methods.
Well, guess what. The individuals who were involved in these leaks were very overt in the release of sources and methods with respect to the issues Senator Graham referred to as having been leaked. Not only that, but lives were put in danger, particularly the life of the individual who was an asset who worked very closely with respect to the underwear bomber issue. We know that to be a fact.
But there is also a secondary issue, and that is this: We have partners around the world we deal with in the intelligence community every single day, and we depend on those partners and they depend on us to provide them with information we have and likewise that they give to us. A classic example was detailed of one of these particular leaks on the front page of the New York Times. Today why in the world would any of our partners in the intelligence community around the world--those partners who have men and women on the front lines who are putting their life in harm's way and in danger every single day to gather intelligence information and share that information with us--why would they continue to do that if they are now concerned about that information being written about on the front page of newspapers inside the United States and blasted all over television or wherever it may be?
The answer is pretty simple. Very honestly, there are some strong considerations being given by some of our partners as to how much information they should share with us. That creates a very negative atmosphere within the intelligence world.
Lastly, let me say that we dealt in the Intelligence Committee with our authorization bill recently in which we have tried to address this issue from a punishment standpoint.
There are certain things that individuals are required to do when they leave the intelligence community and go write a book. One of those things is they have to present their book to an independent panel of intelligence experts, and that panel is to review the information and then decide whether any of it is classified and shall not be released. In one of the instances we have, one of those individuals never submitted his book to that panel. In another instance, an individual submitted his book to the panel, and the panel said: You need to be careful in these areas. And the advice from that panel was pretty well disregarded.
One of the provisions in our bill says if someone does that, if someone fails to submit their book to that panel, or if they disregard what that panel tells them to do, then they are going to be subject to penalties. Part of those penalties include the possible removal of their right to a pension from the Federal Government--the portion the government is obligated to pay them, not what they have contributed.
Our intelligence bill is being criticized by some individuals out there. And guess who it is? It is the media and it is the White House. What does that tell you about their fear and their participation in the release of classified information?
So this issue is of critical importance. It simply has to stop for any number of national security reasons, but the ones that have been addressed by my colleagues obviously are to be highlighted. I look forward to whatever comments the Senator from Illinois may have with respect to justifying--I know he is not going to justify the leaks because I know him too well, but whatever his justification is for proceeding in a prosecution manner the way the Department of Justice is going versus what the Bush administration did and appointing a special counsel in a case that, by the way, pales in comparison to the leaks that took place in this particular instance.
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