By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 27, 2006
The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has proposed a sweeping inquiry into the possible leak of a classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq by a staff member, including an audit of staff telephone records and e-mail to identify unauthorized contacts with news media or messages related to the leaked document.
Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), in a paper outlining procedures for the inquiry, said a committee counsel could pursue "any additional information beyond that involving the NIE if it related to improper conduct with regard to classified information by any member of the committee staff."
At issue is the leak of selected contents, harmful to the Bush administration, of a classified National Intelligence Estimate from April titled "Trends of Global Terrorism." The New York Times first published a story about the NIE, with the headline "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat," on Sept. 23 on its Web site and again in its Sept. 24 print edition.
The intelligence committee did not receive a copy of the NIE until Sept. 21, a day after Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass.), a member of the panel, called the Democratic staff about it. A staff member, Larry Hanauer, arranged for the document's author -- the Office of the Director of National Intelligence -- to deliver a copy to Tierney after it was posted on the panel's classified site.
A Republican member of the intelligence committee, Rep. Ray LaHood (Ill.), wrote Hoekstra to demand an investigation because the story was published two days after a Democratic staff member obtained the NIE.
Hanauer, who has been suspended from the committee by the chairman, signed an sworn affidavit this week saying he had nothing to do with the disclosure.