King seeks probe of Al Qaeda leak
Politico -- by Tim Mak
House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King called Monday for a formal investigation into leaks of classified information regarding the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula underwear bomb plot that was recently uncovered by American intelligence.
“It’s essential to find out who did it. It was a dramatic, dramatic mission, and a terrible, terrible leak. That something of this magnitude could be leaked, some people I’ve spoken to in the intelligence community, at pretty high levels, are outraged by it,” King told POLITICO.
Several weeks ago it was revealed that the CIA foiled a new plot to use an underwear bomb to attack an airplane on the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden.
“I am writing to formally request (a) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct a full inquiry of the widely reported leaks earlier this month of highly classified information regarding penetration of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and (b) that this investigation include the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, federal law enforcement and the White House, including the National Security staff,” wrote King in a Monday letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller.
King stressed that it was one of American’s most successful operations ever, and also one of the most secretive, meaning that the investigation could center around a smaller group of people.
“It was the most tightly-held operation I’ve ever been aware of. Even the bin Laden operation, there were members of Congress that were briefed on it months before. In this case, not the Speaker of the House, number two in line to the presidency, no one was briefed,” said King. “This was tightly-held, and the story got out. This is such a small universe of people who know about it.
“This will be less difficult than other investigations because the universe is so small,” King predicted, noting that the U.S.’ foreign allies involved in the operation are “angry” about the leaks.
The New York Republican said that inquiries into the leak have already begun.
“Whether official or not, [the FBI has] already begun a preliminary inquiry… they’ve certainly begun looking into this. They take it seriously,” said King. “The CIA has begun its own investigation, the Director of National Intelligence has begun its own investigation.”
However, the Homeland Security Committee Chairman said he didn’t want to ask for an special prosecutor, and that he trusted the FBI to take care of the investigation.
“I’m not the type to call for a special prosecutor – I think the FBI can do this on their own,” he added, acknowledging that some members of Congress had been discussing that prospect. “I have full confidence in Director Mueller.”