CIA Head Slams Wiretapping Disclosure

CIA Director Porter Goss, testifies before the U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence hearing to examine the world threat, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006 in Washington. The top U.S. intelligence official said Thursday that the al-Qaida terror network remains the prime concern of the U.S. intelligence community, followed closely by the nuclear activities of Iran and North Korea. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
AP
U.S. intelligence officials told Congress Thursday that disclosure of once-secret projects like President George W. Bush's no-warrant eavesdropping program have undermined their work.

"The damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission," CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing disclosures about a variety of CIA programs that he suggested might have been compromised.

Goss said a federal grand jury should be impaneled to determine "who is leaking this information."

The Bush program, which he ordered shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, was brought to light by The New York Times in mid-December and has caused a continuing controversy within the Washington establishment. That first story, and others written since, relied on unidentified sources from within the Bush administration.

Democratic members of the intelligence panel accused the Bush administration Thursday of wanting to have it both ways.

"The president has not only confirmed the existence of the program, he has spoken at length about it repeatedly" while keeping Congress in the dark, said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the panel's senior Democrat.

Rockefeller suggested that such "leaks" most likely "came from the executive branch" of the government.

That brought a terse response from FBI Director Robert Mueller, who said, "It's not fair to point a finger as to the responsibility of the leak."

In the weeks since the leak, the president and other senior administration officials have publicly defended the eavesdropping, but the full Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to be briefed on it, CBS News correspondent David Martin reports.

The sometimes pointed exchanges came as leaders of the nation's intelligence agencies appeared before the panel

to give a rundown on threats facing the world.

Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss asked the intelligence officials at the witness table "whether or not our position has been compromised" by publicity surrounding the program. John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, and his principal deputy, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, agreed that it had.