Rep. Smith: Those behind intel leaks should face jail time
House judiciary committee chairman, Lamar Smith discusses leaks
- Duration 8:55
- Date Jun 10, 2012
House judiciary committee chairman, Lamar Smith discusses leaks
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Right there are growing concerns now over a series of intelligence leaks involving classified highly classified.
Counter terrorism operations.
And it could be affecting our national security may be jeopardizing lives they include classified background information on the bin Laden -- Recent stories about the Pakistani doctors been imprisoned at three helped us find bin Laden.
Extensive reports on the president's counterterrorism kill list.
Details of cyber attacks against Iran's nuclear program -- Revealing the existence of a double agent who helped prevent the -- many branch of al-Qaeda from bombing a plane headed to the United States.
Well how serious is all of this this but the question to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Texas congressman Lamar Smith.
Has anyone leaking classified Intel should face jail -- he joins us live congressman thanks so much for being -- this.
Did the journalists themselves.
Identify their sources as the administration officials aides to the president.
And members of his national security team and yet the president said yesterday you heard the notion that he is White House would do this is offensive.
Do you believe the president -- the journalists.
Well I think -- -- raise a lot of the questions how can the president say that before an investigation has occurred.
You do have these journalists saying we've gotten this classified information to legally give that classified information out if you pointed out it could endanger our national security can dangerous.
The lives of individuals who are trying to protect us from terrorist threats -- -- -- a little bit premature for the president to be able to say categorically.
The White House didn't leak what we should be looking for from these two US attorneys who have been appointed.
By the attorney general.
There's a couple of things one who won -- -- report going to come out -- going to be before the election right after the election.
And second of all are they going to get cooperation.
From the news media organizations like New York Times may be as far as trying to find out who.
Gave me information you're who the individuals and so forth so that's -- -- things look for.
It's a step in the right direction to -- the US attorneys involved with this AG is so politicized his office it makes you wonder.
If these individuals and I'm going to be you know push to delay the report to actually elect whoever might be but well can't take the -- where Ford that's why we had the.
Investigate these investigations take a long time -- you just said something can -- take the president's word for it when you examine some of the leaked information.
I mean my goodness in includes top level deliberation so di tale that.
They almost certainly we're known only to the president's inner circle do you think.
President Obama is engaging here and a and a -- denial or is he in denial that the leaks may have come from his own White House.
Yet he may be splitting hairs may be parsing words here you know the exact new -- or maybe he's saying I didn't know anything about it.
But he said White House and that includes all officials and I White House which.
As you say have already been identified as a source of some these leagues so something's gotta give I just hope these US attorneys will be totally independent.
Go where the trail leads them and not have any political pressure put on them -- AG who of course worked for the president.
But this you know look people leak and they do it all the time it's endemic in Washington but they -- for different reasons so let's talk about the motivation for a moment do you.
You agree with Senator John McCain who says look this this highly classified information was leaked.
To enhance the president's image because it fits suspiciously well -- he's tough on defense narrative of his reelection campaign.
Right I can only say that I hope that is not true if that is that would be clearly clearly.
Offensive it would be something that the president would have to live down and would be politicizing.
A lot we did politicizing the issue and endangering lives just for political reasons -- just hope that that's not true because that would be -- a real serious offense on the part of president one more point to make and that is this whole issue it should not be partisan in this case you've got Republicans and Democrats alone.
Saying that this needs to be investigated when we have Republicans and Democrats both saying that.
We're not trying to use it -- politically sure we just want to get to the facts and find out who leaked and try to prevent this from Hawaii in the future that's.
That's why are going to jail this is a serious offense.
Be fair or will it be partisan I mean after wrong.
These prosecutors named by -- -- -- they report to holder.
He was appointed by the president holder of course is a close political ally of the president.
Wait isn't there a conflict of interest here which potentially.
Could compromise not only be independence but the integrity.
Of these investigation.
All that is exactly right that's why we have a right to be suspicious that's why -- congress has to be involved with some oversight hearings in Judiciary Committee will.
Need to conduct those.
And some of it as a matter of trust the US attorneys do have good records do have good background we've got to hope that they would do the right thing.
And hope that the AG and the president don't try to put political pressure on -- -- and really no way to find that out.
But you had to have a lot of trust in these individuals to do the right thing well.
Well there is long way to find -- now.
That's to get it from the authors and journalists who wrote the publish first I mean they know congressman.
Who the leaguers are they can name them.
But if the reporter's promise confidentiality.
Should those reporters nevertheless be forced to divulge their sources -- -- it means.
Threat of prosecution and or jail where do you stand on the.
Yeah well exactly and that's why -- while ago we got to look for a couple of things when the report comes out and whether these journalists whether these reporters will cooperate and identify.
There sources the other thing I'd like to know is whether.
Frankly -- anyone asked these reporters not to publish this information it could be a situation -- the White House knew they were about two and chose not to try to.
Convince them not to publish this information sort of being passive rather than active and they could have prevented the information.
From coming out so a lot does depend on these news organizations whether they're willing to cooperate whether they're willing to identify their sources and whether they're willing to tell us I did anyone tried it.
Tell you not to do this because it might endanger life or not those -- the kind of questions these two US attorneys need and should they need to answer quickly and they need to enter the next few weeks.
Still on the subject of Eric Holder -- This slightly switching topics too fast and furious of course caustic.
Cross examination this week before congress and the attorney general said luck.
I know withholding anything because I've testified.
Eight times and I've turned over 7600.
Kind of sounds like a lot but we need do the math that means he's withholding -- 132400.
Documents do you think he is deliberately.
Hiding something that could be incriminating.
Well it's not the number of documents that he -- -- -- the number of pages really doesn't matter it's the actual information that we want and we have not been allowed to talk individuals we want to talk to we -- -- not -- information that specifically we have requested they may wanted to -- -- and with an avalanche of paper.
It's not the right paper it really doesn't count when the attorney general appear before the Judiciary Committee this week before that committee that I chair.
When the questions I asked him was who was -- highest level.
Official that knew about the tactics used in fast and -- where US officials gave hundreds almost 2000 firearms to the drug cartels.
He didn't know the answer that question or at least he said he didn't know the answer that question.
So we need more answers we hit more information we need to have better access to individuals to -- -- Look -- let me be very specific congressman ice.
Some affidavits in support of the wiretap applications in which he apparently has suggested it clearly indicates.
The DOJ knew about the gun walking operation.
Holder of course says well I only learned about it in 2011.
I mean even if those documents are true and accurate.
Does that suggest to you that holder is lying to congress and should he be held is an attempt.
Concerning indicates to me that the AG there is not remembering correctly or has in fact -- And not truthful with the name.
Congress with the congressional committee he -- sworn to tell the truth when he reported appears before the committee so.
If we can prove that that he knew far before he acknowledges that he knew about fast and -- that's a very real serious violation of the law.
All right representative Lamar Smith chairman of the House Judiciary Committee many thanks sir for being with us.
Have you --