Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued the following statement today on the latest Wikileaks release:

“These leaks are a serious impediment to frank discussions among U.S. government officials and to frank discussions with our foreign partners. Whoever released this information should be punished severely.  The Obama Administration has brought charges in four leak cases in recent months, and to-date one of these cases resulted in a 20-month prison sentence for a former FBI contract linguist convicted of illegally providing classified documents to a blogger. These prosecutions are a marked increase from the past, but clearly more is needed to deter people from disclosing secret information.

“The Intelligence Committee has looked carefully at this problem.  I believe that part of the problem is that intelligence, defense, and diplomatic reporting is disseminated very broadly.  If you have a clearance, you are granted access to far more information than may be appropriate.  So while the Department of Justice must act much more aggressively to investigate and try leak cases, the Executive Branch should also better control the dissemination of classified material. Both concepts – ‘need to know’ and ‘need to share’ must be carefully reviewed and changed. Presently, hundreds of thousands of individuals receive intelligence that they may neither need to know nor need to share.

“The Intelligence Committee is looking at whether legislation is needed to accomplish this goal.  We are also looking at strengthening administrative sanctions against individuals who leak in the next intelligence authorization bill as further means to combat leaks.”

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