OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff allegedly leaked highly classified information so frequently that a former CIA director claims he was forced to limit how much information he gave to him and his staff.
Mike Pompeo, who served in that post for a year before then-President Donald Trump named him secretary of state, made the accusation and claims in a Fox News interview on Wednesday.
“During my time as CIA director and secretary of state, I know that he leaked classified information that had been provided to him,” Pompeo, who is rumored to be considering a run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said.
No doubt due to the nature of such information, Pompeo did not go into details about the suspected leaks. However, he did say that the issue got so bad he had to restrict what he could share with members of Congress.
“Outnumbered” co-host Emily Compagno, after emphasizing what a huge problem that is, asked Pompeo why there hadn’t been any accountability if leaking that kind of information is “a felony at a minimum, up to treason.”
“It’s a complicated process, right? It’s difficult to pin down precisely what happened,” Pompeo said. “But I could tell you that when we provided information to him and to his staff, it ended up in places it shouldn’t have been with alarming regularity. We could see it. In the end, I decided I held back information from them as a result.”
During his time in Congress, Pompeo, a graduate of Harvard Law School and the U.S. Military Academy, served on the Intelligence Committee, so he’s familiar with how it operates. He also explained that the information seen by the committee, as well as its counterpart in the Senate, is highly compartmentalized and privileged, and not every member of Congress gets to see it.
He also said that Schiff’s behavior while acting as chairman “almost ruined that committee,” adding that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) “got it exactly right” by removing his Democratic colleague from it.
Besides booting Schiff, McCarthy removed another member from the committee as well, Rep. Eric Swalwell, also a California Democrat, over a previous relationship with a suspected Chinese spy believed to be sexual in nature. The suspected spy, named Fang Fang, assisted with Swalwell’s 2014 campaign; the relationship was not revealed until 2020, however.
McCarthy explained during a testy exchange with a PBS reporter on Wednesday that he had received a briefing from the FBI about the relationship that led him to believe Swalwell is too compromised to be on the committee and be exposed to highly sensitive information.
“Let me be very clear and respectful to you,” McCarthy responded at one point. “You ask me a question, when I answer it, it’s the answer to your question. You don’t get to determine whether I answer your question or not, okay? With all respect, thank you. No, no. Let’s answer her question.”
“You just raised the question. I will be very clear with you. The Intel Committee is different, well, you know why? Because what happens in the Intel Committee, you don’t know. What happens in the Intel committee, other secrets are going on the world, other members of Congress don’t know,” McCarthy said.
“You have not had the briefing that I had,” McCarthy continued.
“I had the briefing, and Nancy Pelosi had the briefing from the FBI. The FBI never came before this Congress to tell the leadership of this Congress that Eric Swalwell had a problem with the Chinese spy until he served on Intel,” McCarthy continued.
“So it wasn’t just us who were concerned about it, the FBI was concerned about putting a member of Congress on the Intel committee that has the rights to see things that others don’t, because of his knowledge and relationship with a Chinese spy,” he said.
In a letter to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), McCarthy said he would not be reinstating the two former members.
“I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as a sole criteria for membership on this essential committee. Integrity matters more,” he wrote.
“It is my assessment that the misuse of this panel during the 116th and 117th Congress severely undermined its primary national security and oversight missions ultimately leaving our nation less safe,” he added. “Therefore, as we enter a new Congress, I am committed to returning the Intelligence Committee to one of genuine honesty and credibility that retains the trust of the American people.”