There’s been a fair amount of chatter in D.C. lately about some leaks of national security information, which Republicans believe was politically motivated. President Obama was asked about it today, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been trying to turn this into a scandal, even going so far as to call for a special counsel investigation.
Funny, when the Bush/Cheney White House outed an undercover CIA agent during a war, McCain and other congressional Republicans seemed far less concerned about sensitive leaks.
In any case, Pete Hoekstra, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Michigan, decided to weigh in today with a tweet on the leak story.
The problem, of course, is that Hoekstra is probably the single worst person in the country to talk about leaks that compromise national security.
He’d probably prefer to forget, but when Hoekstra was in Congress, he was the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee. In one especially memorable incident, he confirmed to the Washington Post, on the record, that Nidal Malik Hasan had exchanged emails with Anwar al-Awlaki. As Rachel reported at the time, it was a problematic revelation – that federal officials had kept secret for a reason.
Marc Ambinder followed up today with senior intelligence officials who said “there are concerns” about Hoekstra’s loose lips. The Republican lawmaker, who was routinely briefed on some of the nation’s most sensitive national security secrets, apparently tipped a radical cleric to surveillance efforts and inadvertently confirmed “a sensitive capability that the N.S.A. regularly employs to collect intelligence.”
A former intelligence official privy to details of the NSA’s programs said that it “would appear to be the case” that Hoekstra divulged too much information.
Wait, it gets worse.
In November 2006, Hoekstra pushed the Bush administration to publish online a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The idea was to let far-right bloggers “prove” that Saddam had WMD, but Hoekstra’s plan led to the accidental release of secret nuclear research.
And in 2009, it was Hoekstra who was supposed to keep secret his itinerary in Iraq, but who instead broadcasted his whereabouts on Twitter.
Hoekstra, in other words, leaked like a sieve. This isn’t a subject he should be eager to talk about.