Can't Trust Whom?
CIA director, former Congressman from Florida, and former spy, Porter Goss testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and stated that the leaks of information about the U.S.'s efforts to intercept communications between al Qaida operatives had done serious damage to our efforts to stay ahead of them and interdict their plots.
No surprises there. When a resourceful enemy like al Qaida gets information on sources and methods they adapt their operations. But what I found remarkable were the remarks of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV),
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the top Democrat on the [Intelligence] committee, complained that briefings about the NSA program have been limited to the top congressional leadership, leaving the full intelligence committees to conclude that they cannot be trusted.
"This rationale for withholding information from Congress is flat-out unacceptable and nothing more than political smoke," Rockefeller said.
This comment is remarkable, as completely irrelevant as it is, because it implies that Rockefeller is either too stupid or too stuck in his party's bitter ideology to see the glaring irony of such a statement.
The Administration disclosed the program to Members of Congress and of the Senate, among them Rockefeller. Rockefeller argues that the failure to disclose it to the entire Committee means that Bush is implying that some of the committee members might not be trustworthy. Perhaps so, but what does the fact of the leak we are dealing with say about the limited list of people who were fed the information right before the election?
Read this post from Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics.com, where he suggests that the list of potential leakers is pretty short, given the sensitive nature of the information. It's probable that someone on the short list couldn't be trusted, and if that's the case, the whole idea of expanding the ranks of the informed makes little sense.
And likewise, as Goss offered, another inquiry into who supplied information to journalists, all the while committing a criminal act to do it, is in order. Journalists need to be queried as to their sources, because somewhere within the government, we have someone who, likely for political purposes, released information about a program that did no harm to Americans, but whose publicity endangered them and helped an enemy.
And I imagine that Jay Rockefeller might want to call for such hearings as well. If he's really interested in finding who leaked this.