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  House Intel Chair suspends staff member

Associated Press | October 19, 2006
By KATHERINE SHRADER

House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra has suspended a Democratic staff member because of concerns he may have leaked a high-level intelligence assessment to The New York Times last month.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press Thursday night, Rep. Ray LaHood (news, bio, voting record), R-Ill., a committee member, said that an unidentified staffer requested the document from National Intelligence Director John Negroponte three days before the Sept. 23 story about its conclusions.

The staffer received the National Intelligence Estimate on global terror trends on Sept. 21.

"I have no credible information to say any classified information was leaked from the committee's minority staff, but the implications of such would be dramatic," LaHood wrote Hoekstra, R-Mich., late last month. "This may, in fact, be only coincidence, and simply 'look bad.' But coincidence, in this town, is rare."

A spokesman to Hoekstra, Jamal Ware, confirmed that a committee staff member was suspended this week. He said the staff member is being denied access to classified information pending the outcome of a review.

"Chairman Hoekstra considers security highly important, and the coincidence certainly merits a review," he said.

An aide to California Rep. Jane Harman (news, bio, voting record), the committee's top Democrat, did not have an immediate comment Thursday night.

The New York Times did not immediately answer a telephone message seeking comment.

 

 

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