A senior Senate Democrat lightly-yet-pointedly criticized the Obama White House Monday, saying bluntly that some recent national security leaks appear to have originated at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"The White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said during a forum in Washington.
"What the president knows" about a recent string of public disclosures of classified security operations is hard to know, Feinstein said, adding she is confident President Barack Obama and the intelligence officials who brief him daily are not talking about the contents of that daily intelligence report.
"But who knows who else" at the White House might do so, Feinstein said. "There's one book they can read and they'll see it very carefully," she said, alluding to a book by journalist David Sanger's that reveals the U.S. and Israel developed a cyber tool that they believe to have interfered with Iran's nuclear arms program.
Her comments come amid an ongoing a federal probe into and congressional questioning about numerous stories that have run in major publications that describe several top-secret security programs to the public. The leaked data detailed a number of classified efforts, including President Obama's list of suspected terrorists targeted in drone strikes, and the role of U.S. security agencies in developing and releasing computer viruses that have attacked Iran's alleged nuclear arms program.
House Judiciary Committee members have even discussed whether to subpoena Obama administration officials and journalists that knowingly leaked and published classified government information.
Obama has vowed to locate the leakers, ordering the Justice Department to conduct an investigation of the string of leaks. That probe is ongoing.
Meantime, lawmakers, including Feinstein, could unveil legislation as soon as this week that targets leakers by giving federal agencies new tools to go after those who disclose sensitive data but avoid federal prosecution.
John T. Bennett covers national security and foreign policy for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.
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