Monday, November 20, 2006

Intelligence Panel Staffer Reinstated


A Democratic staff member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has had his security clearances reinstated and yesterday resumed work for the panel, ending a pre-election drama during which senior House Republicans alleged he may have leaked an intelligence report that was politically embarrassing to the Bush administration.

The mid-level staffer, Larry Hanauer, had signed an affidavit that he did not "discuss, disclose or cause to be discussed or disclosed" a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq to any person "affiliated with the press."

Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) wrote on Friday to ranking Democrat Jane Harman (Calif.) that the affidavit and the results of the committee staff director's interview of Hanauer were enough for him to rescind the punishment.

At the time of the suspension, Hoekstra told Harman that another committee member, Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), had questioned the timing between Hanauer obtaining the NIE for a Democratic lawmaker who requested it and the New York Times publishing a story about it days later. Although the leak allegation was not based on any evidence, Hoekstra suspended Hanauer, telling Harman he had "come to the conclusion that I cannot assume that this was a mere coincidence."

Soon after the suspension last month, House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) released statements condemning leaks and praising Hoekstra.

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