Representative Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said Friday that continued leaks “are going to destroy” surveillance programs that ensure national security.
“The reauthorization of these tools that we need to keep us safe is in jeopardy if we don’t stop the leaks,” he said. “Leaks are illegal and they are dangerous and they are deleterious to our national security.”
Gowdy, who appeared on Fox News, said although he understands why the public is often interested in the content of leaks, they need to understand the dangers associated with leaks.
“I wish that all facets of the media showed the same interest in finding the identity of the leaker as they do the content of the leak,” he said.
The Trump administration has stressed that leaks are “the real story” after leaks have led to a series of unflattering stories for the administration, most notably leading to the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia.
Earlier this week, WikiLeaks began publishing documents that the organizations says reveal how the CIA uses smartphones, computers and internet-connected televisions for spying.
Gowdy said the leakers only make up a small group, saying those with access to classified material is not about 300 million people, it’s “about 30.”
“It is a small universe of people who would have had access to the underlying conversation, any summaries, and then what ultimately wound up in the Washington Post,” he said. “So you need to find those 30 and apply whatever pressure is necessary from a legal standpoint through your investigation because leaks are going to destroy these programs.”