It’s only national security… what’s the big deal?
Democrats say the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee had no grounds to suspend a staff member who’s come under scrutiny for the leak of a secret intelligence assessment.
The unidentified staff member, a Democrat, was suspended this week by Chairman Peter Hoekstra and is being denied access to classified information pending the outcome of a review. In an interview on Friday, Hoekstra said the step was the least aggressive he could take while the committee investigates.
The Michigan Republican said the committee aide will be interviewed and other information will be collected. That could include correspondence, phone records and interviews with people who interacted with the aide. For now, Hoekstra said, he has not involved the FBI, which would normally handle investigations into leaks of classified material.
“We ought to be able to resolve this very, very quickly,” he said.
The Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Jane Harman of California, wrote to Hoekstra that she was “appalled” by his action, which was “without basis.” She has demanded that Hoekstra “immediately reinstate the staffer’s access to classified information.”
Rather than wait for the results of a review process, Harman demands the immediate reinstatement of this staffer’s access to classified intelligence. The possibility that this person leaked secret national security intelligence apparently doesn’t concern her.
It’s as if a board of directors discovered evidence that one of its managers had embezzled millions from the company, yet his allies on the board demanded that he retain access to all of the company’s accounts.