So House Intel Committee chairman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) has blasted the White House for keeping Congress in the dark about some heretofore unknown "Intelligence Community activities." The lack of disclosure may represent... a violation of the law," Hoekstra wrote in a May 17 letter to the President.Now, Washington is wondering: who told the chairman about the intel program? TPM Muckraker has an educated guess: former NSA analyst Russ Tice, who was a source on the New York Times' domestic surveillance scoop.In an e-mail to Defense Tech, Tice says he "do[es] not know for sure" whether he was the "whistle-blower" who Hoekstra said brought the program to light. "But the timing would be about right, as I talked to [Hoekstra's] committee this past April.""I have a feeling the answer is yes, the, 'unacknowledged,' 'waved' Special Access Programs (SAP)s I hinted to are the ones he refers to," Tice added. "The committees I have been allowed to talk [to] seemed shocked as to what I was telling them."UPDATE 3:02 PM: The National Review says "No Dice on Tice." And TPM Muckraker quotes Tice as saying he didn't tell the Intel Committee all that much.
Tice met with Hoekstra's staff in early April -- and it didn't go well. "They had a lawyer there, and the lawyer said, 'If you tell us anything at the SAP [highly-classified Special Access Program] level you could be arrested,'" Tice recalled. "The rest of the meeting comprised of them twisting my arm trying to get me to tell them everything."So, the question remains. "Who got Hoekstra so exercised? And what did they tell him?" TPMM asks. "And perhaps more importantly, why is it coming out now? Hoekstra's letter was made public after the administration briefed him on whatever secret programs he wanted to know about. Why did the letter come out now -- and why, if it wasn't supposed to be public, did he appear on Fox News Sunday to talk about it?"UPDATE 3:35 PM: Former Air Force special investigator Dave Gaubatz tells TPMM that he's the one who spilled the beans.
Gaubatz told me that the program Hoekstra referenced Sunday, the "major" activity the Intelligence Committee wasn't briefed on, is a Defense Department program run out of the Air Force Research Lab. Gaubatz said that there were several programs there that the Congressman wasn't aware of, but one major program in particular. He wouldn't give too many details about the program, but said that "it pertains to WMD and ways to move the WMD..."It fits with Chairman Hoekstra's recent preoccupation with the WMD issue. Hoekstra has recently been up in arms about a classified report that disclosed the existence of shells of chemical weapons in Iraq dating back to the first Gulf War.