Former CIA Director John Brennan recently expressed his discontent with the White House leakers that give the media access to classified information. Brennan thinks these people represent a more serious threat to the national security than the president’s sometimes reckless actions.
Leakers Should Be Stopped
The former head of the CIA also said that the number of leaks from the White House to the press in recent months is “appalling”. The spy chief made the remarks at the SALT conference in Las Vegas, a meeting of top Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers.
This needs to be stopped,
Brennan said about the leaks.
Brenan served as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under Presidnet Barack Obama. He was replaced by Mike Pompeo in January.
The former spymaster acknowledged that Trump was wrong when he shared classified information with two top Russian diplomats. However, the mistake was not related to the contents of the disclosure, but to the method it was done.
Brennan explained Trump violated the protocol which requests classified information to be shared through secure channels. Brennan admitted that he shared himself intelligence with Moscow when he was at the helm of the CIA, but he always did it through intelligence channels.
He also said that Trump should have used a wording that did not reveal the sources of the information or the collection methods. This is where the president erred.
Media Coverage More Damaging than Trump’s Actions
Brennan pointed out that the media coverage of trump’s intel gaffe was “hyperbolic” or greatly exaggerated. The former spy chief thinks the negative press was more damaging than anything the president could have revealed. He added that the real danger were the leaks following Trump’s spontaneous disclosure of classified information.
The real damage to national security is the leaks,
He hinted that the media reports were even more revealing than Trump was. Brennan called for the prosecution of individuals who “stay within the government” and provide the press with classified information regardless of consequences.
Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said earlier this week that the “premise” of the Washington Post report that revealed Trump leaked the sensitive info to Russia was “false.”
McMaster too declined to view the president as a threat to the national security. He added that the real threats are the administration officials that “violate confidentiality”. The Post did not give the names of the sources of the story but cited “current and former U.S. officials” in the article.
At some point the author of the story said he has the info from “a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official” who was involved in the works of the president’s national security team.
Experts now wonder why would an intelligence officer leak classified information that could damage the national security in the first place. One possible answer may be that leakers no longer trust their chain of command or they want to undo wrongdoings such as political interference in spy agencies’ work.
However, people lose trust when intelligence is used as a political weapon or when politics influences intelligence activities. And this can happen when leaders of intelligence activities target certain persons or issues for political purposes.
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