WATCH | The White House will not roll back last minute changes Obama made to the way we share intelligence
There has been lots of speculation about the source of intelligence leaks in the Russia election hacking controversy. The Trump administration is sending strong signals it intends to crack down and punish people who leak the nation’s most sensitive secrets.
But that crackdown doesn’t appear to include rolling back a change in intelligence-sharing rules that President Obama made in his last days in office.
The intelligence community long lobbied for relaxing a three-decade-old executive order that closely controlled who in government got access to unredacted intercepts from the National Security Agency.
The reason? Intelligence professionals want more communication and coordination to aid their efforts to stop the next terror attack from groups like ISIS. In his final days in office, Obama obliged when his administration made changes that allowed NSA intercepts to be shared more widely among 16 different intelligence agencies.
Critics, like conservative commentator Sean Hannity, fear the change could have contributed to the recent leaks of Russian intelligence, including intercepts of former Trump adviser Mike Flynn. And privacy critics like the ACLU also worry the change will lead to larger invasions of privacy.
Despite those concerns, the White House told Circa the Trump administration has no plans to roll back the Obama rule changes. And that means the new White House is siding with its intelligence community for the time being, even as it shares the concerns about leaks.