Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Ca., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, demanded on Sunday that the person be identified and prosecuted who leaked information on an attempt to bomb an American airliner using a new, almost undetectable underwear bomb.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Feinstein said the leak did great damage to American security. "This was serious," she said, adding, "You have to protect the people and the confidence and the classification and the covert nature of this line of work. When these leaks take place, I can't tell you how much they damage our ability to pursue intelligence efforts."
She noted that only "a limited number of people knew about it" at the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration. She said the leak could not have come from Congress because neither she nor House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., had been briefed in advance.
She said the leak of the information to the Associated Press "jeopardizes the asset and jeopardizes our ability" to gain intelligence from other countries while also tipping off the terrorists "to be more careful about who they use as couriers and bombers." Feinstein said she is in agreement with Republicans. "The leak, I think, has to be prosecuted. And so the investigation is being done and hopefully concluded and criminal charges will go to the Department of Justice."
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, agreed, saying the leak put lives at risk and limited the amount of information the United States received.
"This really is criminal, in the literal sense of the word, to leak out this type of sensitive, classified information on really almost unparalleled penetration of the enemy," he said on CNN's State of the Union.
Feinstein also said that she is not as confident as the Obama administration is that this bomb would have been detected by current security procedures followed by the TSA. "Candidly, no. I can't say that I am," she said, arguing that a pat down is the only way to be certain to thwart the terrorists.
"When you see the number of people on these large planes, you are aware of the fact that this is really necessary to do and particularly right now," she said. "I am hopeful that we will be able to candidly kill this bomb maker and kill some of his associates, because there is a dangerous process in play at the present time."
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