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Thursday, May 25, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The leakers of classified intelligence information are chipping away at our democratic institutions. It’s becoming a dangerous game where those who are feeding sensitive information to the media are also creating distrust within our intelligence agencies and damaging relationships with our allies abroad.

These leakers are on a mission to weaken President Trump and disrupt his ability to govern. They believe it is their moral obligation to fight the president and his team. But at what cost?


Just this week, British intelligence officials expressed outrage after learning that the information on the Manchester bombing investigation was leaked to The New York Times. The CIA and the FBI had received the intelligence information on a confidential basis, but somehow the material fell into the hands of news reporters.

Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly lectured Mr. Trump about the problem, and now the Brits have decided that they will limit the sharing of intelligence information with their U.S. counterparts. This not only damages our ties to a special ally, it hurts our ability to thwart potential terrorists attacks on our homeland. We rely on intelligence information from our allies to be able to effectively combat terrorism at home and abroad.

We need to be pulling together in the fight against Islamic State, al Qaeda and the other terrorist organizations, not creating infighting within our own organizations and with our allies. If we fail to coordinate and share intelligence information, the terrorists win.

The president has said repeatedly he will not tolerate the leakers, warning that “the leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security,” directing the Justice Department to prosecute those caught leaking “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Liberals have tried to minimize the debate over the damage done by the leaks of classified information. When former CIA Director John Brennan testified this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, it was the Republicans who asked about the leaks of classified information. Mr. Brennan responded, “They continue to be very, very damaging leaks, and I find them appalling and they need to be tracked down.”

This should be an issue of bipartisan concern, but Senate Democrats remained virtually silent on the topic during the hearing.

The idea that there is a governmental “deep state” undermining the current administration and the will of the voters is viewed as a conspiracy theory by the left. The “deep state” exists, and its members have purposely been creating havoc from day one of this administration. But now their little game has turned destructive and damaged our relations with foreign countries.

At the beginning of the Trump administration, details of his telephone calls to foreign leaders ended up on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers, as did sensitive information from the intelligence community on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

These leakers may view themselves as righteous truth-tellers, but a process exists for government workers if they believe there has been “agency misconduct” or “abuse of authority” under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. Instead, the leakers act like spies and are willing to harm our national security, although their primary goal is to harm the president.

Leaking classified information has become the new norm, and the leakers are providing a feeding frenzy for the media. However, these leakers are criminals, and their actions have already alienated key allies and caused distress in the Trump White House and in the intelligence agencies. The leakers’ goal is to undermine Mr. Trump and his agenda, even at the high price of committing a criminal act. The Department of Justice has already initiated steps to cut off the illicit information channels but it might be difficult to find and punish those responsible.

These leakers are not heroes but cowards, cowards willing to put our security at risk to score a point for their own agendas on the front page of The New York Times.

Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News contributor, co-founder of Cove Strategies and former White House director of specialty media under President George W. Bush.


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