FAS | Secrecy | Congress ||| Index | Search | Join FAS

Congressional Record: October 9, 2001 (Senate)
Page S10355-S10356                       

                         CLASSIFIED INFORMATION

  Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, about a half hour ago, President Bush was 
in the Rose Garden for a ceremony. During the question-and-answer 
period, the President expressed some great concern--in my judgment, 
justifiable concern--about the leaking of classified information that 
was given to some Members of Congress. Apparently, at least a couple 
Members of Congress, on a couple of occasions, have leaked that 
information to the press.
  In my judgment, the President has every right to be very upset about 
that. This country has asked its young men and women in military 
service to risk their lives in this time of national emergency. As they 
undertake military operations in parts of the world that are thousands 
and thousands of miles from here, it ill-serves our country's interests 
to have any Member of Congress, under any circumstance, at any time, 
going to a classified briefing and then disclosing the information from 
that classified briefing to a member of the press.
  The solution, I might say, is not, however, for the administration to 
stop briefing the Congress about classified material. The solution, I 
would urge the President, would be for us to find out which Member of 
Congress has leaked classified information and then make certain that 
this Member of Congress--House or Senate--is not given classified 
information in the future.
  I know this is a difficult area and a difficult set of circumstances, 
but this country faces some very difficult days ahead.
  The September 11 terrorist attacks that were committed against this 
country changed almost everything. The need for security is quite 
evident to almost everyone in this country.
  The terrorist attacks require this country to respond. The President 
had no choice. We cannot ignore those attacks. We had to respond to 
those attacks. And the President has the full support of the American 
people in his response, in my judgment, and certainly the full support 
of the Congress.
  But I just want to say that the President was dead right this 
afternoon in

[[Page S10356]]

expressing anger about the disclosure--the unlawful disclosure and 
unauthorized disclosure--of classified information. Members of the 
House or the Senate who would disclose classified information to the 
press that they received in classified briefings do no service to this 
  I would hope the administration and the President, rather than 
deciding they will not share that information with Congress, would 
decide that they would sanction those who have misused that classified 
  In order for Congress to do its work, and in order for the committees 
in Congress to do their work, information must be made available, even 
classified information. But the President is correct that information 
must be treated as classified, treated as top secret, and cannot be 
given to the press. An unauthorized disclosure, in my judgment, 
undercuts this country's interests.
  I hope the President's admonition today, and I hope the discussion by 
other Members of Congress about this, will convince the administration 
they ought to continue the briefings. They are helpful and important as 
a part of this process. But some of us in Congress full well understand 
the President's concern about the unauthorized leaks that have 


FAS | Secrecy | Congress ||| Index | Search | Join FAS