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The bill approved by the committee would have stripped intelligence officials of their clearances for leaking to the press.
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Senators Consider Softening Measure
Cracking Down on Security Leaks

The Hill
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are considering changes that would cut the teeth out of legislation designed to crack down on national-security leaks.

The lawmakers are considering softening penalties for leaks in a committee-approved bill authorizing intelligence agencies before the legislation hits the Senate floor.

The bill approved by the committee would have stripped intelligence officials of their clearances for leaking to the press. It also would block national-security officials from making contact with the media even after they've left the government.

Both of those provisions might now be weakened because of pressure from critics of the bill, according to sources. After the Intelligence panel approved its version of the bill, it came under criticism from lawmakers and civil liberties groups who said it went too far in hampering media access on issues of national security.

A spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the chairwoman of the Intelligence panel, acknowledged senators are taking these criticisms into account. The spokesman declined to comment on specific changes to the bill, but suggested they were possible...

The full Senate is expected to consider the bill in the tight, eight-legislative-day window in September when lawmakers return from the August recess.

The Senate bill also required congressional notification of all authorized classified disclosures, and threatened to revoke federal pensions for members of the intelligence community who leak classified or otherwise sensitive national security information to the media and are convicted by a federal court for such crimes.

The House has already approved an intelligence authorization bill, but did not include language meant to crack down on leaks.

However, Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has publicly sided with Feinstein on enacting legislation with tough penalties on the leaks. The Michigan Republican called the Senate bill’s leak provisions a "good first step."

A congressional aide said the House Intelligence panel would not be weighing in on possible changes to the Senate bill until that legislation is considered on the Senate floor.

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Editor's Note: Where national security is concerned, we already know that the media cannot be trusted to cooperate with the intelligence community in the best interest of the American people. Severe penalties must be included for those who do illegal things where national security is concerned. If not, why even have a bill??


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