In the case of the SWIFT program leak, the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department are both attempting to confirm how much material damage the Times’s stories have wrought.
“We aren’t going to get into specifics in public now, but I think when we brief the House and Senate in the coming days we will be able to make a clear and persuasive case that the SWIFT leak has severely set our efforts back on a number of fronts and on a number of investigations,” says a Treasury official familiar with the preparations of the Congressional briefings. “Depending on where we come out of things, some of us are of a mindset to recommend that as these much information as possible that we can allow to be declassified should be declassified, so that the American people can see just how much damage the Times has caused.”
The Prowler has a knack for getting too-good-to-be-true quotes from its government sources. The briefings will be helpful in figuring out how much of it is fact and how much of it is crap fed to them by the administration as counterspin.
Regarding the leaks of classified information, Mr. Hoekstra said at a hearing on May 26 that he thought that there should be strong protections for intelligence agency whistle-blowers who bring their concerns to Congress, reducing the risk of leaks to the news media.
“We need to make sure the whistle-blower process is an open door,” Mr. Hoekstra said at the hearing. Otherwise, he said, when intelligence officers see something they believe to be illegal or unwise, “they just go, ‘Well, I’ll just go to the press.’ “
Hoekstra also emphasized on FNS how well the whistleblower protocol had worked in this case. I guarantee you that some idiot, perhaps even on our side of the aisle, will accuse him of having manufactured this whole controversy just to show leakers that they needn’t run to the press if they have grievance with Bush. Watch and see.
Update: Here’s the House subcommittee press release on the upcoming hearings about the SWIFT program.