Senator Kyl: Leakers Must Be Prosecuted

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," June 26, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, first the leak, now the wrath. Harsh words from President Bush today, after another anti-terror program is leaked to the press.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The disclosure of this program is disgraceful. We’re at war with a bunch of people who want to hurt the United States of America. And for people to leak that program and for a newspaper to publish it does great harm to the United States of America.


CAVUTO: Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona agrees.

Senator, what do you think of what the president said?

SEN. JON KYL, R-ARIZ. The president is dead right.

Remember, this is a war that relies, first and foremost, on good intelligence. This is not a war in which we use a lot of airplanes and ships and submarines and so on.

Rather, you get good intelligence on the opposition here, and then go after them, try to break up their cells, prevent them from operating. One of the key things you have got to do is to stop the financing of the terrorist organizations. And the best way to do that is to follow the money. That is what this program was intending to do. And I hope it will not be ruined as a result of these disclosures.

CAVUTO: The New York Times, as you know, has argued, through its editorial page, that it was really breaking nothing earth-shattering here, and it would be understood anyway — and I am vastly simplifying it, Senator — that terrorists would know their finances are being tracked.

KYL: Well, that is a rather odd defense, it seems to me: We are going to report on something that everybody knows anyway.

I don’t think that was really what they were doing here. In fact, the whole defense was, this is in the public’s interest to know, and, so, we are going to tell them.

But it just is amazing to me that a newspaper as allegedly responsible as The New York Times, not once now but twice, would break very important news about a classified program that helps us to win the war on terror. All it does it give the terrorists an idea of how to not get caught.


I do want to refer to what Representative Peter King wants to do, and that is go after the newspaper, prosecute The New York Times. Are you for that?

KYL: Well, first of all, I am for prosecuting whoever leaked the information to The Times. That’s where you start it. And if the newspaper has to help you in finding out who did that, they need to cooperate in that.

The attorney general has said that there is a statute under which news media, having been properly warned about the national security implications of printing something that is classified, could be prosecuted. And, obviously, the attorney general ought to examine that as well.

But, clearly, you start with the people in our — assuming our clandestine services who are leaking this information. How can you have people working for you in intelligence agencies who leak information that is useful to the opposition? I do not understand this.

CAVUTO: All right. But leaks, as you know, sir, happen all the time. I guess, would you say, if The New York Times is not forthcoming in revealing that source or sources, you would go after The Times?

KYL: The Times has got to be cooperative, if the government needs its help in finding out who did this leaking.


KYL: There is already an investigation under — in one of the other cases. I presume that there will be one in this case. There certainly should be.

CAVUTO: OK, Senator Kyl, thank you very much, sir.

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