Following the release of a disputed CNN report centered on the exfiltration of a Russian spy by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., condemned officials for leaking to the media and sharing sensitive classified information with the public.
"I can’t comment on the specifics of this case that CNN has broken. Our sources and our methods are the most closely guarded secrets we have," the House Intelligence Committee member told CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday.
But, Himes added, "Unable, as I am to talk about the specifics of this case... this president has always been loose with the use of classified information. Two weeks ago... he tweeted out a satellite photograph of the destroyed Iranian missile on its launch pad. If you looked at that picture, you saw that it had a classification marker that had been blacked out."
"Being loose with this kind of information, which this president regularly does, is actually a direct assault on our security," Himes added.
Referring to the CNN story, Himes said, "I can offer a couple of points of perspective including... the notion that five government officials are actually talking to [CNN correspondent] Jim Sciutto. And look, I respect the press a lot, but what the heck?
"I mean, I remember a moment in time when we were all a-twitter[sic] because Hillary Clinton might have had classified e-mails on her laptop and here, five government officials apparently are talking about... one of the most guarded things, if it’s true, that we have."
Himes was referring to the exclusive story written by CNN's National Security Correspondent Jim Scuitto, which claimed the Trump administration was cavalier with classified information back in 2017 and put an American intelligence asset at risk. The CIA released a statement refuting the story and called it "false" and "misguided."
The CIA claimed the contents of the CNN report are "inaccurate."
"CNN's narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false," its statement read. "Misguided speculation that the President's handling of our nation's most sensitive intelligence - which he has access to each and every day - drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate."