A crimes report was filed by the CIA with the Department of Justice over a leak, national security adviser Robert OBrien said July 1.
Raw intelligence that suggested the Russians might be offering bounties to kill U.S. soldiers was leaked to The New York Times and other outlets.
Data from the DOJ shows the number of classified leaks surged since President Donald Trump took office, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said this week, from 39 per year on average to 104 on average.
“We have seen targeted leaks of classified information against this president, and it is irresponsible: phone calls with foreign leaders, meetings with government officials, and now reports of alleged intelligence. Make no mistake: This damages our ability, as a nation, to collect intelligence,” she said.
The leak makes difficult to verify or debunk the raw intelligence regarding Russia, OBrien told reporters outside the White House on July 1.
“Some leaker took it upon themselves in an effort to attack the president, or to maybe promote some policy agenda, to leak allegations that now make it almost impossible for us to find out what happened,” OBrien said.
The CIA and Department of Justice (DOJ) didnt immediately respond to requests for comment.
Thousands of pieces of intelligence come in every week, and analysts work to verify them. While the intelligence community was working on assessing the legitimacy of the intelligence in question, officials put together a list of options the president could decide from if it was verified.
A senior career CIA official made the decision not to have President Donald Trump briefed on the raw intelligence.
“She made that decision because she didnt have confidence in the intelligence that came up,” OBrien said.
“She made that call. And you know what? I think she made the right call, so Im not going to criticize her. Knowing the facts that I know now, I stand behind that call.”
The raw intelligence was leaked to The New York Times, which falsely reported that Trump was briefed on it and chose not to do anything, according to intelligence officials.
“That was a hoax, and theres no question about it,” OBrien said.