There is currently a very large flap over the planned violation of national security by the White House.. Earlier this week, FBI Director Robert Mueller had a closed meeting with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chaired by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). In that closed meeting, Mueller announced that the Christmas/Crotch Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was cooperating now that his family had been brought to the US. Initially, after being Mirandized, the bomber had stopped talking.
Mueller pleaded that the fact that Abdulmutallab was talking be keep secret because disclosure would alert Abdulmutallab’s confederates that the bomber was talking and identifying them. A public session of the committee was scheduled and Mueller wanted to insure that all the members were informed of the interrogation progress in a private session and to ask them to keep that information secret. It was classified information and not to be made public. Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) was not present at the closed meeting. Director Mueller called Senator Bond privately and informed him of the progress and made the same request to keep the information secret.
When the open meeting of the Committee occurred on Tuesday of this week, the Chairman, Senator Diane Feinstein, asked Director Mueller if Abdulmutallab was still being interrogated. Mueller’s response was a single, “Yes.” Then Feinstein asked if Abdulmutallab was talking. After a pause where Mueller if visibly uncomfortable, he again replied with a single, “Yes.”
Within a few hours, the White House was trumpeting the interrogation success and the information being gained from Abdulmutallab. The White House made the information into a media event. Bond, outraged, sent a scathing letter to the White House on their further disclosure of the classified information. Bond, in his letter, says, “Doing so would threaten ongoing efforts to stop operations the intelligence community thought were possibly happening against the United States.” Bond continues, “Distortion of the congressional notification process suggests that other considerations are taking precedence over keeping timely and sensitive information away from our enemies”. Bond implied that due to the speed of the White House disclosure, the release had been planned well in advance—in clear violation of national security. Gibbs, the White House spokesman said that Bond should apologize for his letter. Here is a FOX News report of the incident. Another news organization called the White House press release a “craven act.”
The AFP reports…
WASHINGTON — The White House demanded an apology Thursday from a top US senator who charged its disclosure that the Christmas bomb plot suspect was cooperating with interrogators may have helped violent extremists.
Republican Senator Kit Bond, his party’s senior member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a letter to President Barack Obama that he was “deeply disturbed” by revelations in a Tuesday briefing.
In that session, senior US officials told reporters at the White House that US counter-terrorism officials enlisted some of accused bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s relatives in a successful bid to get him to talk.
“This information immediately hit the air waves globally and, no doubt, reached the ears of our enemies abroad,” Bond said, warning that the disclosure “has no doubt been helpful to his terrorist cohorts around the world.”
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs denied that the administration had misused classified information and demanded Bond say sorry to law-enforcement professionals who would never allow information to be used that way.
“I think an apology on that is owed because it’s not true,” Gibbs said. “I think that the reason that charge is made is only to play politics. I think if you look at the letter, clearly this is about politics.”
Gibbs said that the White House had only briefed reporters when it became clear from testimony by top law-enforcement officials in Congress that Abdulmutallab had been talking to investigators.
Bond scoffed at the demand: “After telling me to keep my mouth shut, the White House discloses sensitive information in an effort to defend a dangerous and unpopular decision … and I?m supposed to apologize?”
The White House had been hitting back hard at Republican charges that it lost valuable intelligence by treating Abdulmutallab as a criminal and informing him of his right to remain silent.
Obama aides have underlined that authorities followed established practice to the letter and accused Republicans of seeking political gain by attacking methods they did not criticize when used by George W. Bush.
“It frustrated the hell out of me that I had to listen to a lot of the comments being made that were criticizing this process,” said one of the briefers, who told reporters the session was in response to a leak.
Bond said FBI Director Robert Mueller had informed key lawmakers Monday that Abdulmutallab was providing “critical information” and emphasized that “keeping the fact of his cooperation quiet was vital to preventing future attacks against the United States.”
“Twenty-four hours later, however, White House staff assembled members of the media to announce Abdulmutallab?s cooperation and to laud the events that led to his decision to cooperate with law enforcement personnel,” said Bond.
“Consider the consequences of publicly disseminating sensitive information vital to the defense of the American people. I do not believe the American people want this information jeopardized to further political arguments,” he wrote.
US officials accuse Abdulmutallab, allegedly trained in Yemen by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, of trying to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear on a Northwest Airlines plane approaching Detroit on December 25.
Is this another case of, “None dare call it Treason?”