WASHINGTON – The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday she was unaware of any request by the FBI that committee members turn over records as part of an investigation into the leak of classified information.
Agents have asked members of the Senate Intelligence Committee for telephone records, schedules and other documents indicating any conversations that lawmakers had with reporters.
The committees are conducting a joint inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I know of no such request of House members,'' said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "I just want to say that checking on the leaks, wherever they are, is important because some of this information leaked out ... is a distorted view of what may have happened on Sept. 11.''
The FBI is seeking a broad range of records from senators and aides that might indicate press contacts, including schedules maintained on electronic devices such as Palm Pilots.
The FBI wants information on any contact those senators had with reporters between noon on June 18 to 3:15 p.m. on June 19. That is when CNN reported the details of two Arabic-language messages the National Security Agency intercepted Sept. 10 making vague references to an impending attack on the United States. Other news organizations also reported on the messages, which contained the phrases, "Tomorrow is zero hour'' and "The match is about to begin.'' The intercepts were not translated until Sept. 12.
The leaks, Pelosi said on ABC's This Week, "are problematic because they reveal, could reveal our sources and methods. They're problematic because they cause more stress and undue anxiety for the families in thinking that Sept. 11 could have been prevented but for that intercept being made known publicly.''
The intelligence committees requested the FBI leak investigation in June after news organizations reported details of the NSA intercepts.
"We take these leaks very seriously. We have currently under review not only members and staff of Congress but also executive agency and intelligence agency officials who heard the same information during the same closed hearings,'' said Sen. Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate committee.
"We felt the most appropriate means of doing the review was to ask the Department of Justice, which could look at all the potential sources of this leak. They are conducting that investigation and we are fully cooperating,'' Graham, D-Fla., said on CBS' Face the Nation.