Judiciary Chairman to Obama: We Need to Grill Your Security Chiefs

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee today asked President Obama to make seven senior, high-profile administration officials available to be interviewed regarding national security leaks.


Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) wants his committee to be able to interview National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Vice Presidential National Security Adviser Tony Blinken, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Director for Counterterrorism Audrey Tomason, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism James Clapper.

They will be asked about leaks including the Stuxnet and Flame virus attacks involving Iran, operational details of the bin Laden raid, the “introduction of Seal Team 6 to Obama campaign film producers,” and the administration’s targeted killings, Smith said.

They will also need to be ready to provide information about leaks involving the disruption of an underwear bombing plot from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the identity of the doctor who did DNA tests to locate Osama bin Laden.

“When our enemies know our secrets, American lives are threatened,” Smith told Obama.

Smith’s letter follows up on yesterday’s Crime Subcommittee hearing, where Smith, subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) agreed to exercise the panel’s investigative power, including subpoenas if necessary, to get to the bottom of the sources of the recent leaks.


“The safety of Americans at home and abroad depends on the government’s ability to protect our nation’s secrets,” Smith wrote. “And the government’s ability to keep national security secrets depends on identifying the causes of the recent leaks and putting a stop to them.”

Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed two U.S. attorneys to investigate the leaks. Even though Holder has maintained that they have the freedom to investigate independently, lawmakers have criticized the probe as too close to the White House.


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