In addition, there’s the problem of the message to other potential sources. One way to think about this problem is to ask yourself this question: How confident are you that the U.S. intelligence community could protect you in exchange your help? And are you more confident or less confident on that point given that the chairman of the House intelligence committee is demanding information about an intelligence source and that the President of the United States is tweeting false information about him—requiring correction by major press operations? Such questions answer themselves.
This is what FBI Director Chris Wray was talking about the other day when he told the Senate Appropriations Committee that, “The day that we can’t protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe.” Wray put the matter bluntly: “Human sources in particular who put themselves at great risk to work with us and with our foreign partners have to be able to trust that we’re going to protect their identities and in many cases their lives and the lives of their families.”