In reference to Jim Geraghty’s tidy history of recent leaks today, Rich Noyes found that in one of those incidents (the leak last June of the contents of September 10 NSA intercepts), the networks were bored by the question of who leaked, which may have tipped off al-Qaeda about NSA sources and methods.
For older comparisons, I would suggest that in 1992, the Senate named a Special Counsel to investigate a Judiciary Committee leak to NPR’s Nina Totenberg and Newsday’s Tim Phelps that erupted into the Hill-Thomas hearings. Nothing was disclosed. Try finding a network story on that leak probe. Totenberg said that probing ties between NPR reporters and leaking liberals would “chill democratic liaisons.”
The 1982 bill cited in this latest fuss was inspired by ex-CIA agent Philip Agee, who was supported by (among others) Morton Halperin, who President Clinton nominated to a Defense Department post, despite his opinion that covert intelligence operations should be abolished. The media hounded Republicans for opposing his nomination, which was withdrawn before the GOP grilled Halperin about his Agee connections. Remember that when Democrats breathe heavy about compromised intelligence.