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Originally published June 25, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Page modified June 26, 2012 at 9:07 AM

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Intelligence director takes step to stop classified leaks

America's top intelligence official plans to seek more leak investigations and to require intelligence-agency employees to answer in polygraph examinations whether they have disclosed classified information to journalists.

Tribune Washington bureau

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WASHINGTON — In an effort to make it more difficult for the news media to divulge secret programs, America's top intelligence official plans to seek more noncriminal leak investigations and to require intelligence-agency employees to answer in polygraph examinations whether they have disclosed classified information to journalists, his office announced Monday.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he will ask the Intelligence Community Inspector General to lead administrative leak investigations in cases when federal lawyers decline to press criminal charges.

Clapper also issued a directive requiring intelligence employees to be asked if they made unauthorized disclosures to the news media. Government officials who seek top-secret clearances are subject to an initial polygraph test and periodic renewals, in many cases every five years.

Currently, they are asked if they have ever disclosed classified information to someone not authorized to receive it. But they are not specifically asked about contacts with journalists.

Two recent news articles in particular infuriated intelligence officials: the disclosure by The New York Times that the Stuxnet computer worm was part of a cyber operation by the United States and Israel designed to sabotage Iran's nuclear program; and the revelation by The Associated Press of a thwarted airline-bomb plot originating in Yemen.

Justice Department prosecutors are now investigating how those secrets emerged. The Obama administration has pursued six criminal leak cases.

Before Obama took office, only three such cases had ever been pursued.

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