Polygraph tests used by U.S. intelligence agencies must include a question about unauthorized disclosures of classified information, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said.
The question is intended to track down leaks, and it will be mandated at agencies from the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Clapper said today in an e-mailed statement.
Among recent unauthorized disclosures were that the U.S. and Israel created the Stuxnet computer virus that damaged Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, that President Barack Obama personally approves targets for drone attacks, and that a plot by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner was foiled because intelligence officials had infiltrated the terrorist group.
“It is my sincere hope that others across the government will follow our lead,” Clapper said. “It is the right thing to do on behalf of the American people and in the interest of our national security.”
While lawmakers of both parties have expressed concern about the leaks, Republicans have blamed White House officials, not the intelligence agencies, for disclosures they say may burnish Obama’s national-security credentials ahead of the November election.
“It’s really the worst I’ve ever seen,” Senator John McCain of Arizona, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at a Bloomberg Government defense conference on June 21. “It’s very clear that the highest level of the administration was involved in this,” based on news reports and books that cited senior administration officials as sources.
Obama has denied that White House officials leaked classified information, calling the notion that they would do so “offensive.”
Attorney General Eric Holder has named two U.S. attorneys to investigate the leaks.
In today’s announcement, Clapper also said the intelligence community’s inspector general will lead an independent investigation of certain unauthorized disclosures when the Justice Department decides not to prosecute.
Calling Clapper’s actions a “good first step,” Representative Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican who heads the House intelligence committee, said in a statement today, “The parade of recent leaks requires action. We must break this culture of unauthorized disclosures.”
Rogers also said the Republican and Democratic leaders of the congressional intelligence committees are working together on “legislative options to deter and detect leaks of classified information, and to hold leakers accountable.”
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