The national intelligence director has launched a preliminary inquiry to determine whether there was a national security leak regarding the Benghazi attack to former New York Times reporter Leslie Gelb, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.
The inquiry would look into an op-ed Gelb, who now works with the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote for the Daily Beast last month. Gelb implied he was privy to the same intelligence briefing as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who appeared on five Sunday talk shows Sept. 16 and claimed the attack was a demonstration spun out of control.
"Her mistake was taking the initial intelligence at face value," Gelb wrote. "The White House briefers made the same error, and so did I. I too repeated in an op-ed on The Daily Beast what the intelligence briefers told me, but I knew very well that more and contradictory information would appear soon enough. It always does."
In the letter obtained by Fox News, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director David Petraeus wrote:
"This is a very serious matter and it has been referred to the appropriate staff for follow-up action. Our normal process for investigating such incidents begins with a preliminary inquiry."
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The letter went to Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
King said that if the preliminary inquiry leads to a criminal referral, "this is a serious matter."
"To have a journalist have top secrets of the United States and not have it come from the CIA, not have it come from the director of national intelligence, this seems to have been given to him from someone in the White House," King said.
Fox News has requested comment from Gelb's office.
Meanwhile, classified documents on the Benghazi terrorist attack will now be made available to lawmakers at a special meeting on Capitol Hill. It will be in a classified setting which means lawmakers cannot take copies with them.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.