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Senators to Obama: Who’s Authorizing Benghazi Leaks to Press?

10:25 AM, Nov 3, 2012 • By ROBERT ZARATE
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In a letter to the White House, four members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence asked President Obama whether recent disclosures to the press of classified information on the Benghazi terrorist attacks were authorized by the Obama administration or illegal leaks subject to prosecution. Written by Senators Dan Coats (R-Indiana), James E. Risch (R-Idaho), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), and Marco Rubio (R-Florida), the letter comes in response to a recent Washington Post article that the lawmakers described as being “littered with off the record quotes from ‘senior intelligence officials’ within” the Obama administration. 

In the letter, the lawmakers pointedly ask: “We write today to ask if these disclosures were authorized, and if so, who authorized them and for what purpose? If they were in fact leaks, and not authorized disclosures, what steps is your administration taking to find and prosecute those responsible?”

The Senators write that they “find it reprehensible that information in the article was provided to the press before Congress, and in some cases stands in direct contradiction to the information briefed to congressional oversight committees,” adding: “in these waning days of the campaign season, and in the shadow of the Benghazi terrorist attacks—for which there are still too many unanswered questions—members of your administration are not only discussing highly classified matters with reporters, but are perceived to be engaging in such activity for the purpose of bolstering your national security credentials.” 

Here’s the entire text of the letter:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

On November 1, 2012, the Washington Post ran a column by Greg Miller titled “CIA Rushed to Save Diplomats as Libya Attack Was Underway.”  The article is littered with off the record quotes from “senior intelligence officials” within your administration. We are resigned to the fact that in these waning days of the campaign season, and in the shadow of the Benghazi terrorist attacks – for which there are still too many unanswered questions, members of your administration are not only discussing highly classified matters with reporters, but are perceived to be engaging in such activity for the purpose of bolstering your national security credentials.  We find it reprehensible that information in the article was provided to the press before Congress, and in some cases stands in direct contradiction to the information briefed to congressional oversight committees. 

We write today to ask if these disclosures were authorized, and if so, who authorized them and for what purpose?  If they were in fact leaks, and not authorized disclosures, what steps is your administration taking to find and prosecute those responsible? 

Finally, given the unprecedented number of leaks that have occurred during your administration, going back to information provided to David Sanger, news reports identifying sources and methods related to the second underwear bomber, and the original “Kill List Story,” we again ask you to reconsider your decision not to appoint an independent investigator.  These disclosures appear to have come from some of the highest individuals in your administration and appointing a Special Prosecutor would remove even the appearance of political influence. 

We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Very Respectfully,

Dan Coats, United States Senator
James E. Risch, United States Senator
Roy Blunt, United States Senator
Marco Rubio, United States Senator

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