U.S. intelligence chief bars unauthorized contacts with reporters on all intel-related matters

McClatchy – Employees of U.S. intelligence agencies have been barred from discussing any intelligence-related matter- even if it isn’t classified- with journalists without authorization, according to a new directive by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.  Under the order, only the director or deputy head of an intelligence agency, public affairs officials and those authorized by public affairs officials may have contact with journalists on intelligence-related matters.

The order doesn’t distinguish between classified and unclassified matters.  It covers a range of intelligence-related information, including, it says, “intelligence sources, methods, activities and judgments.”  It includes a sweeping definition of who’s a journalist, which it asserts is “any person . . . engaged in the collection, production or dissemination to the public of information in any form related to topics of national security.”

The order represents the latest move by the Obama administration to stifle leaks.  It bolsters another administration initiative called the Insider Threat Program, which requires federal employees to report co-workers who show any of a broad variety of “high risk” behaviors that might indicate they could be sources of unauthorized releases of classified or unclassified material.

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