The illegal leaks of classified information dealing with ongoing operations and intelligence sources and methods put our American men and women in the military and intelligence community in danger. These leaks also cause immediate harm to our relationships with our allies in the war on terror, some of whom are asking whether the work we do together can be kept a secret.
This week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) suspended a Democrat staff member of the Committee over concerns he may have illegally leaked the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to The New York Times last month. The Democrat staffer requested the NIE from National Intelligence Director John Negroponte three days before a September 23 story by the Times on its conclusions.
Chairman Hoekstra did the right thing by suspending this Democrat staff member's access to classified information pending a full review of this illegal leak. The fact is there may have been others who had access to this sensitive information, but only one staffer requested it by name the same week it was illegally leaked to the press. And that was the Democrat staff member Hoekstra suspended.
This issue should be of great concern to the American people. Why? Because Democrats don't seem to fundamentally understand that illegally leaking classified intelligence undermines our national security and puts American lives at risk.
Are Democrats outraged at these illegal leaks? Of course not. Time and time again, Democrats have celebrated illegal leaks of classified intelligence to wrongly justify their weak and indecisive approach on strong national security policies that effectively combat terrorism and keep America safe. Democrats talk a good game about security but consistently fail to support our intelligence community with the tools and the funding needed to get the job done. It proves once again how unserious they are on national security.
The Democrats' record of undermining the intelligence community is especially troubling. They repeatedly voted to undermine our national security by supporting a series of drastic, across-the-board cuts by the Clinton Administration during the 1990s in the number of American intelligence operatives. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with President Clinton in 1993 was current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who voted to cut intelligence authorization by $500 million. She voted similarly in 1996, 1997, and 1998.