Yesterday Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, blamed the New York Times and the IAEA for the leak of sensitive Iraqi documents — a “nuclear primer” on how to build an atomic bomb — on a public government website:
Concerns by the New York Times and the IAEA prompted the government to shut down the website. The IAEA, “fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms,” privately protested last week to the American ambassador. The Bush administration shut down the site on Thursday evening, only after the New York Times “asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials.”
Hoekstra, on the other hand, was responsible for making that information public in the first place. Last November, he and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) wrote to Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and asked him to the post the Iraqi documents.
Hoekstra is now claiming that he has “always been clear that the Director of National Intelligence should take whatever steps necessary to withhold sensitive information.” But in a press release on April 18 — approximately a month after the first documents were made public — Hoekstra issued a news release with no such reservations. He instead acknowledged that posting the information carried “risks, but such risks are minimal.”