Murray Waas on the leaky Senate Intelligence Committee Chair.
[T]hree years ago on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, [Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat] Roberts himself was involved in disclosing sensitive intelligence information that, according to four former senior intelligence officers, impaired efforts to capture Saddam Hussein and potentially threatened the lives of Iraqis who were spying for the United States.
On March 20, 2003, at the onset of military hostilities between U.S. and Iraqi forces, Roberts said in a speech to the National Newspaper Association that he had “been in touch with our intelligence community” and that the CIA had informed President Bush and the National Security Council “of intelligence information from what we call human intelligence that indicated the location of Saddam Hussein and his leadership in a bunker in the suburbs of Baghdad.”
The former intelligence officials said in interviews that Roberts was never held accountable for his comments, which bore directly on the issue of intelligence-gathering sources and methods, and revealed that Iraqis close to Hussein were probably talking to the United States. These former officials contrasted the Roberts case with last week’s firing of CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy, as examples of how rank and file intelligence professionals now have much to fear from legitimate and even inadvertent contacts with journalists, while senior executive branch officials and members of Congress are almost never held accountable when they seriously breach national security through leaks of information.
“On a scale of one to ten, if Mary McCarthy did what she is accused of doing, it would be at best a six or seven,” said one former senior intelligence official, whose position required involvement in numerous leak investigations. “What Pat Roberts did, from a legal and national security point of view, was an eleven.”