The Obama administration's top intelligence chief issued a new directive dictating that all intelligence agency workers are prohibited from speaking to members of news media organization without getting permission from their superiors, according to news reports on Monday.
The quietly promulgated directive was exposed by the Federation of American and is believed by many observers to be a knee-jerk response to the recent National Security Agency (NSA) scandal as well as NSA contractor Edward Snowden's releases of classified documents.
The actual directive was written and sent out to the intelligence community by President Barack Obama's hand-picked Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. The directive threatens intelligence personnel who fail to follow the directive with the loss of their security clearances and their jobs and even criminal prosecution.
The Obama administration claims the rules are designed to protect the United States and its people from the nation's enemies who would like nothing better than to compromise U.S. intelligence gathering and analysis.
"This is quite an interesting situation: on the one hand, the Obama administration and the Democrats continue to threaten Central Intelligence Agency staff with criminal prosecution for their methods of gathering information in the search for terrorist icon Osama bin Laden; on the other hand they're telling these intelligence officers that they cannot divulge information that may help them to avoid convictions by the over-zealous Obama minions," said former intelligence officer and police detective Michael Snopes.
As far as obtaining permission, the directive stipulates that in a majority of situations, permission or authorization must be obtained from a very limited pool within the intelligence community, usually the top officials at the intel officer's agency.
The FAS' secrecy news states:
So under most circumstances, an intelligence community employee is at liberty to discuss unclassified intelligence-related information with his or her next-door neighbor. But if the neighbor happened to be a member of the media, then the contact would be prohibited altogether without prior authorization.
In the aftermath of the Snowden intelligence leaks, the Obama White House has suggested additional security measures to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure to the press and to the public, and many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are eagerly awaiting Obama's plan.