Intelligence leaks anger Obama; sharing rethought

By Eli Lake-The Washington Times

President Obama is angry over recent public disclosures of classified information in Washington and the intelligence community is re-evaluating the post-Sept. 11 push for greater intelligence-sharing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday.

“We are working on information-sharing initiatives across the board,” Mr. Clapper said in a speech. “But the classic dilemma of need to share versus need to know is still with us. And I would observe that the Wikileaks episode represents what I would consider a big yellow flag. I think it is going to have a very chilling effect on the need to share.”

The remarks at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington came in sharp contrast to his predecessors who called for increased information among the 16 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community. Indeed, the need for greater interagency intelligence-sharing was a key feature of not only the Sept. 11 commission’s final report, but later reviews of U.S. government lapses in attacks like the Fort Hood massacre and the near bombing of a Northwest Airlines jet on Dec. 25.

Wikileaks, a website that gathers and releases internal documents, made public in July thousands of U.S. military field reports from Afghanistan that included sensitive information, such as the identities of Afghan nationals who spied for the United States. The disclosures prompted the Taliban militia to announce a campaign to find and kill so-called collaborators.

Mr. Clapper said the leaks are upsetting Mr. Obama.

“I was at a meeting yesterday with the president,” he said. “I was ashamed to have to sit there and listen to the president express his great angst about the leaking that is going on here in this town.”

The intelligence chief continued, chastising “anonymous senior intelligence officials who, for whatever reason, get their jollies from blabbing to the media.”

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