Former top CIA counter-terrorism officer: ‘Absolutely’ people should go to jail for leaks [VIDEO]

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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A former top CIA counter-terrorism leader told The Daily Caller that officials should “absolutely” go to jail for sharing classified national security information with the press.

Henry Crumpton, a CIA officer who was deputy director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center and headed America’s covert invasion of Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks, said that intelligence leaks put “lives at risk.”

“They are putting lives at risk,” he said during an interview at TheDC’s Washington offices about his new book, “The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service.”

“We often think of, ‘Well, there are no U.S. lives directly at risk.’ But there may be. And moreover, there are foreign nationals that spy for the CIA, that work closely for the CIA. These are sources — trusted sources in many cases — and they are at enormous risk. And we have to think about the obligation we have not just to CIA officers but to foreign citizens that help us.”

Several intelligence leaks dealing with America’s efforts to hamper Iran’s nuclear program and its efforts to hunt down al-Qaida leaders have drawn scrutiny from Capitol Hill. Republicans such as Arizona Sen. John McCain have accused Obama administration officials of leaking the classified information in order to boost President Barack Obama politically. The Department of Justice is launching an investigation into the leaks, though Republicans have demanded that the DOJ appoint an independent counsel.

While Crumpton said he didn’t know whether the Obama administration had any role in the most recent national security leaks, he said that past administrations have used leaks to pursue their own political agenda.

“[A]dministrations, Republican and Democrat, have used secret information to advance their own political objectives and I think that’s abhorrent,” he said.

Check back with TheDC for more of Crumpton’s comments about the state of Afghanistan, the threat of Iran and much more.

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Jamie Weinstein