March 18, 2013 / by emptywheel


According to James Clapper, John Brennan Is a Leaker

To celebrate Sunshine Week last week, the Office of Director of National Intelligence  released to Jason Leopold that office’s memo on ramped up use of polygraphs to crack down on leaks.

The memo requires that polygraphs incorporate the following guidelines about what constitutes a leak.

  • “Unauthorized recipient” includes any U.S. person or foreign national without a need to know or not cleared at the appropriate level for the information, including any member of the media.
  • “Unauthorized disclosure” means a communication, confirmation, acknowledgement, or physical transfer of classified information, including the facilitation of, or actual giving, passing selling, keeping, publishing, or in any way making such information available, to an unauthorized recipient.
  • Classified information includes information classified at any level, including Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret. [my emphasis]

Note these categories are — at least as listed in the memo — position independent. No matter who does these things, an unauthorized disclosure of classified information to an unauthorized recipient is a leak.

Including the acknowledgement of classified information that may be already public.

Funny, then, that Clapper celebrated the confirmation of John Brennan at the Global Threats hearing last week. Because as part of Brennan’s confirmation process, he responded this way to a Richard Burr supplemental question about his own leaks.

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 disclose classified information.

Now, this doesn’t mean CIA Director Brennan will fail the polygraph question his new boss set up last year. At multiple times in his confirmation process, he admitted that he talks to journalists, up to and well beyond “acknowledging” information already out there. (Though he proved remarkably unwilling to provide the Senate Intelligence Committee a list of those acknowledgements leaks, which is one reason Saxby Chambliss voted against him.) He’s honest that he’s a leaker, though he himself excuses his own leaking because he’s so high ranking.

But as the effects of Clapper’s new system become clear, remember that he thinks John Brennan, an admitted leaker, is a great guy to head up the CIA.

Update: This WhoWhatWhy article on Brennan connects the way his graduate thesis express lukewarm support for human rights and advocacy for censorship in some circumstances with this Stratfor email details his 2010 crackdown on investigative journalists.

Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources.

Note — There is specific tasker from the WH to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked. The Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode…”

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