Congressmen Accuse White House Of Leaking Intel

A bipartisan group of senators has called an investigation into how the news media has received information from the White House about drone strikes and cyber warfare.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Some Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of leaking classified information for political gain. A handful of news articles recently have outlined U.S. intelligence operations, the dismantling of terror plots, cyber attacks directed at Iran.

Well, here's NPR's Andrea Seabrook now on the firestorm those stories have stirred up at the Capitol.

ANDREA SEABROOK, BYLINE: South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham went on Fox News last night to talk about the intelligence leaks. He said you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what's going on here.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: We've had three leaks of intelligence that paint the president as a strong leader.

SEABROOK: Then Mr. Obama's former presidential rival, Republican John McCain, went on CBS this morning to charge the administration with creating a political advantage with the leaks.

White House spokesman Jay Carney called the accusation grossly irresponsible. Three stories in particular rile the lawmakers: an Associated Press item about a CIA disruption of an al-Qaida bomb plot, a piece in the Washington Post detailing the administration's request to increase drone attacks in Yemen and two New York Times stories about the president's evolution as a military leader, in which whole scenes are recounted from inside the White House situation room.

SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN: We're not finger-pointing. What we're trying to do is say we have a problem and we want to stop that problem.

SEABROOK: California Democrat Dianne Feinstein heads the Senate Intelligence Committee. She and her top committee colleagues of both parties met with the Director of National Intelligence today to talk about what to do. Michigan Republican Mike Rogers chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

SENATOR MIKE ROGERS: To have all four of us come forward today and talk about the severity of these leaks I hope sends a very clear message about how dangerous this has become.

SEABROOK: Both sides say they'll add new protections for classified information and new sanctions for leakers into the Intelligence Authorization Bill still pending in Congress. House Republicans plan their own investigation of the leaks and they're considering appointing an outside inspector general.

Andrea Seabrook, NPR News, Washington.

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