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Stop Leaks To Media, U.S. Intel Chief Tells Workers

Aug 27, 2010

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Reported by

Frank James

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Was it Benjamin Franklin who said the only certainties in life are death, taxes and Washington leaks?

Okay, Franklin didn't mention leaks. But he could have.

Despite their omnipresence since the beginning of the republic, every presidential administration tries to crack down on leaks and ultimately fails since there are just too many people privy to sensitive information.

The Associated Press reports that the new National Intelligence Director, James Clapper, has issued a memo demanding that existing and would-be leakers at the nation's 16 intelligence agencies that ostensibly report to him stop leaking secret information.

AP reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The director of national intelligence is telling his people to zip it, after a string of recent leaks to the media.

In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, newly appointed director James R. Clapper says he is concerned about leaks of confidential information in the press.

Recent disclosures have revealed the potential for using CIA drones in the counterterrorist fight against al-Qaida in Yemen, the close relationship of the CIA station chief in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the CIA's practice of paying some members of the Afghan government for information.

Clapper told the members of the 16 intelligence agencies that they should be like his grandchildren - "seen but not heard."

Likening government bureaucrats to one's grandchildren is arguably an unusual way to get such professionals to get with the program.

But Clapper is clearly trying to gain the attention of the intelligence community.

The story will likely have others wondering, as it did me, about the possibility that we know about the memo because it was itself leaked to the AP.

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