Kerry:  White House: "Not involved" in leaks
June 7th, 2012
05:50 PM ET

Kerry: White House: "Not involved" in leaks

Kerry adamant White House not involved in intelligence leaks

By  Ted Barrett

The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he is “really upset” about recent leaks of classified information because it “endangers our long-term security” and it “begs retaliation.” But Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts was adamant that no one at the White House or in Democratic politics was involved in the leaks.

“I know that people at the White House were not involved,” he said.

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Asked about suggestions from Sen. John McCain of Arizona and other Republicans that the leaks came from someone trying to boost the president’s political standing, Kerry said they are wrong.

“McCain needs to know, before people make that kind of accusation, the reporters themselves have said it did not come from anybody on the Obama team or on the Democratic side or anything like that,” Kerry said. “I take that at face value.”

On the leaks themselves, Kerry said they don’t make sense to him.

“I don’t understand the mentality of an American citizen who thinks they’re advancing anything by leaking classified information of any kind but which puts the country potentially at risk,” Kerry said.

Asked by CNN if the New York Times should have declined to publish recent articles about U.S.-led cyber attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities and other intelligence activities, Kerry said he’s not sure the information met a “need to know” standard that might justify the publication.

“I personally think there is a serious question about whether or not that served our interest and whether the public had to know and it was of that kind of interest. To me it was such a nitty-gritty, fundamental national security issue and I don’t see how the public interest is served by it. I do see how other interests outside of the United States are served by it. So, I think there is a very serious question about that,” he said.

Moments after making those remarks, Kerry returned to a Capitol hallway to clarify to CNN one important point about his views on the publication of classified documents, related to his personal history with the Vietnam War.

“I would apply a need-to-know standard,” he said. “In the Pentagon papers, the country was being lied to. You understand the need to know. On this, I don’t know that a need-to-know standard gets met.”

The Pentagon Papers were a Defense Department study critical of the government’s handling of the Vietnam War. The New York Times published stories based on the leaked documents in 1971. Kerry, who served in Vietnam, was a vocal opponent of the war.

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Filed under: Congress • Intelligence • Kerry
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Cindi

    Holy smokes, here we go again, " the reporters said, " ordeal ! This makes me laugh, everyone actually believes the reporters ? Have reporters words become golden ? Look at what happen to General McChrystal. His career was taken from him by a reporter. A year later, the investigation concluded that General McChrystal had never said one single disparaging remark.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • Parisa

      Yep, but for some reason the big media thknis this guy is going to appeal to people from the South. That shows you how much of a box these reporters and pundits live in.

      July 1, 2012 at 1:33 am | Reply
  2. Spartan

    Lawrence (Larry) Franklin The former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst with expertise in Iranian policy issues who worked in the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and reported directly to Feith's deputy, William Luti, was sentenced January 20, 2006, "to more than 12 years in prison for giving classified information to an Israeli diplomat" and members of the pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

    Franklin will "remain free while the government continues with the wider case" and his "prison time could be sharply reduced in return for his help in prosecuting" former AIPAC members Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, [who] are scheduled to go on trial in April [2006]. Franklin admitted that he met periodically with Rosen and Weissman between 2002 and 2004 and discussed classified information, including information about potential attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. Rosen and Weissman would later share what they learned with reporters and Israeli officials." (source:

    June 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply

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