New York Times reporter David Sanger just got the plug of a lifetime for his new book Confront and Conceal even though it came from someone who wishes it was never published. This morning, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, tells The San Francisco Chronicle she's more than halfway done with Sanger's book, which details classified information about U.S. cyber weapons. The verdict thus far? "You learn more from the book than I did as chairman of the intelligence committee," she told columnist Debra Saunders, "and that's very disturbing to me."
That's quite the statement, given the extraordinary intelligence access granted to someone in Feinstein's position. The Senate Intelligence Committee, by law, is kept "fully and currently informed" of U.S. intelligence activities including "covert actions and any significant intelligence failure." And that's just for your average committee members. Under certain circumstances, when the national security intelligence is extremely sensitive, the White House can restrict access to the committee but still has to divulge covert activities to the chairman and vice chairman and their equivalents on the House intelligence committee.