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.
Is it any wonder why our nation’s intelligence capabilities needed to be upgraded and rebuilt when President Bush took office in order to fight terrorism around the globe?
The Democrats’ record of incompetence on intelligence matters doesn’t end there. Every single Democrat refused to vote for a resolution expressing support for those who work for our intelligence agencies in 2004. And a significant number of Democrats opposed an amendment to the FY 2007 Intelligence Authorization bill that merely expressed the sense of Congress that illegal leaks of classified information dealing with ongoing operations and intelligence sources and methods do harm to the War on Terror.
Aside from their efforts to undermine our intelligence capabilities, the Democrats’ game plan has focused on using illegal leaks to foster confusion among the American people so they aren’t forced to discuss their own feeble record on national security issues. While Capitol Hill Democrats tried to use a small portion of the illegally leaked NIE to justify their weak and indecisive approach to protecting the American people, the document in fact confirmed that U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts not only have severely damaged al Qaeda and that U.S. success in Iraq was the key to ensuring that this terrorist threat does not grow.
Not only do Democrats not have any national security plan to confront the threat of terrorism and keep America safe, but they’ve worked relentlessly to weaken American national security on other fronts. Whether it is bringing terrorists to justice, authorizing the President’s terrorist surveillance program, or funding the intelligence community, Democrats have worked against America’s national security interests and refused to give President Bush the tools he needs to effectively wage and win the war on terror.
Republicans have worked all year to support our intelligence community and support the efforts of President Bush in fighting the Global War on Terror. The Democrats’ record of appeasing terrorists has got to stop, and it’s got to stop because it’s undermining America’s national security and jeopardizing Americans’ on the front lines in the War on Terror.