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Clapper: WikiLeaks' work a 'big yellow flag' for intelligence

From Pam Benson, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The director of national intelligence speaks out on WikiLeaks
  • WikiLeaks plans to release classified documents on the Iraq war

Washington (CNN) -- The top intelligence official in the United States said Wednesday the efforts by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks to share classified documents presents a "big yellow flag" and will have a "chilling effect" on the need of the intelligence community to share information.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who spoke at a conference on intelligence matters in Washington, blasted senior intelligence officials who divulge secret information.

"I was in a meeting yesterday with the president and I was ashamed to have to sit there and listen to the president express his great angst about the leaking that's going on here in this town," Clapper said, later adding: "It's widely quoted, amorphous, anonymous, senior intelligence officials, who for whatever reason get their jollies from blabbing to the media. I'm not criticizing the media at all. You're doing your jobs. But I am criticizing people who are allegedly government officials in responsible positions who have supposedly taken an oath to protect this country."

WikiLeaks recently gained attention and criticism for leaking thousands of U.S. military documents about the war in Afghanistan. The documents are believed to have been leaked to the site by a soldier who had access to them as an intelligence analyst for the military.

U.S. officials have said one of the impacts of the massive leak was a loss of trust by allies in the ability of United States to keep sensitive documents out of public view.

Clapper said the WikiLeaks episode "represents what I would consider a big yellow flag, and I think it's going to have a very chilling effect on" the need to share information outside of the intelligence community.