A former CIA officer told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Friday that the recent leak of information that caused Britain to stop sharing intelligence with the United States could have been part of the media’s effort to make the Trump administration look bad.
“It’s a possibility” the New York Times knew what it was doing when it used sensitive information about the terrorist bombing in Manchester, England, and used it to take a shot at President Donald Trump, former CIA officer Mike Baker told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Cavuto’s Your World show.
Trump and American intelligence agencies were castigated in Britain when the New York Times published details of the attack that, at the time, were only known to British and American intelligence agencies.
Baker said the leaks will only stop “if there are consequences.”
Baker said officials who have access to the material being leaked should be “hauled in” and made to take a lie detector test, if necessary.
That sentiment was shared by a former FBI official.
“If we start to punish, other people will get the message,” said Ron Hosko, a former assistant director of the FBI, who talked to Cavuto on Thursday.
Trump has said he will work to identify the source of the leak.
“The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling,” Trump said. “These leaks have been going on for a long time, and my administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security. I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Failure to punish will embolden future leakers, Baker said.
“When you continue to lower the bar and you continue to normalize the idea that, you know, people can’t keep their pie holes shut, and it’s OK because there’s ultimately no consequences, then sure, you create this environment where suddenly you have news articles that contain only anonymous sources,” Baker said.
One analyst said publication of the level of detail the New York Times published could help other terrorists.
“Once we start coming down to very specific photographs and details of the bomber and the device used, if you’re a perpetrator who’s aiming to make similar devices in the future — or indeed you’re the person who made that device — you can learn something about its effectiveness and what is left by looking at the photographs in the New York Times. That is information you would not usually be able to come by,” said Chris Westcott, a visiting senior research fellow at the International Centre for Security Analysis.