COMMENTARY | James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, is seeking to increase the number of federal employees subject to lie detector tests. Known as the counterintelligence polygraph, the lie detector is used an investigative tool with those who have top secret clearance. Clapper is taking issue with the fact that not all employees who have high level clearance are subject to the program. Clapper would like to see a higher number of employees be subject to the counterintelligence polygraph and, according to an unnamed CNN source , add questions related to speaking with the media. It is no small irony that this information was leaked by an anonymous source.
Ever growing mountain of leaks
This is not the first time Director Clapper has had to deal with large leaks. He had to deal with the Wikileaks debacle and create changes in its aftermath. More recently, there has been a seemingly steady stream of information coming from the White House. The most serious may be the series of rapid fire leaks about a foiled terrorist plot using an undetectable bomb. The plot, the target, and even the undercover agent were all compromised due to premature release of the information.
The latest leak is the U.S. engaging in cyber warfare with Iran. It came to light that the U.S. had deployed a powerful computer virus five years ago, apparently undetected until now.
Full scale manhunt?
Director Clapper is not the only interested party trying to root out these sources. The FBI has launched an investigation in an effort to find the source or sources. Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, has said the Senate Intelligence Committee is drafting new legislation in the wake of the leaks. The legislation would cover who can access sensitive information and possibly require the White House to consult Congress as to when information would be released.
A blow to the Obama campaign?
The recent leaks would appear to bolster the Obama campaign’s efforts to make the president look tough on terrorists. But Republicans are quick to suggest that the White House is endangering Americans by leaking intelligence for political gain. As Sen. John McCain put it on the Senate floor, “Such disclosures can only undermine similar ongoing or future operations and, in this sense, compromise national security.”
If President Obama is somehow linked to these leaks, it would be disastrous for his political life.