Brennan Continues to Stonewall on His Own Leaks

John Brennan has now been asked three times (four, presuming Richard Burr asked during the closed hearing, as he said he would) to list the specific times he has leaked to journalists. He has refused all the unclassified questions, as he does here in his supplemental questions.

Describe each specific instance in which you were authorized to disclosure classified information to a reporter or media consultant, including the identity of the individual authorizing each disclosure and the reason for each such disclosure.

In exceptional circumstances, when classified information appears to have already been leaked to the media, it may be necessary to acknowledge classified information to a member of the media or to declassify information for the very purpose of limiting damage to national security by protecting sources and methods or stemming the flow of additional classified information. Such conversations involve only the most senior Agency officials or their designees and must be handled according to any applicable regulations. I have on occasion spoken to members of the media who appeared to already have classified information, in an effort to limit damage to national security; however, even in those circumstances I did not disclosure classified information.

Burr wants a list. Brennan isn’t giving him one.

Noted.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

2 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    He doesn’t want anyone to know anything, does he?
    I think that should be an automatic disqualification: refusal to answer legitimate questions.

  2. Jeff Kaye says:

    Short form: If we (the administration… or rather, I) leak, it is not a leak, it’s acknowledgment.

    But the most revealing portion of his answer is this, bold emphasis added: “…it may be necessary to acknowledge classified information to a member of the media or to declassify information for the very purpose of limiting damage to national security by protecting sources and methods or stemming the flow of additional classified information.”

    “Protecting sources and methods…” I think this is accurate, although it leaves out the part about spreading disinformation via limited hang-out or outright lie.

    I think, as you’ve alluded and I’ve also suggested at times, that the drones controversy, as legitimate as it is, is also, in part, a lightning rod to divert attention away from other assassination methods and schemes. In that sense — and SAT fans pay attention — drones are to assassination as waterboarding is to torture.

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