By Suzanne Kelly
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wants more government employees to be subject to an enhanced lie detector test as a deterrent to leaking classified information, an intelligence source told CNN Thursday.
As he briefs top intelligence lawmakers who are outraged over a series of recent leaks of classified information, Clapper wants to widen the numbers of people across government agencies who would be required to take the “Counterintelligence Polygraph,” the source said.
The move would be aimed at government employees who hold top-secret clearance, including employees at the 16 intelligence agencies he oversees, but also at other departments, such as State and Defense, which have employees with access to similar information, according to the intelligence source. But the scope of Clapper's efforts would not include White House officials who also are privy to classified information.As of now, not everyone with that clearance level is required to take this specific polygraph, which, the source said, would have questions added to it, including whether the employee has passed information to journalists or other unauthorized recipients, for example.
Clapper is pushing for a number of bold changes to government procedures in order to detect and stop leaks, according to the source, which would also include looking at circumstances under which clearances might be revoked or suspended, and reviewing a number of other administrative policies.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, is calling for new provisions to be added to the intelligence authorization bill, including requiring congressional notification of authorized leaks of information, and finding more severe ways to crack down on those who are not cleared to disclose information but do it anyway.
Feinstein was joined by counterparts on the House Committee on Intelligence in saying that a recent string of leaks are dangerous to the U.S. intelligence community and sometimes endanger lives.
Included among those instances were: disclosures about an ongoing operation deep inside al Qaeda as they developed a bomb to potentially be used against the United States; reports of drones carrying out targeted killings; and leaked information about the Stuxnet virus, which rendered centrifuges at an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility inoperable.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said after meeting with Clapper that there is "no more important issue than this issue."
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, has blamed the White House of intentionally leaking classified information to burnish President Barack Obama's national security image five months before the presidential election.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Thursday that those allegations "have no basis in fact." Feinstein and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, said they do not believe recent leaks came from the top ranks of the White House.