As FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers were questioned by the members of the #Intelligence House Committee the direction of the questions revealed a not so hidden game of tactics between the Republicans and the Democrats. The former attempting to protect the #White House and the latter to play every card for what it was worth.

Controversy

Director Comey’s almost immediate statement confirming the existence of investigations into possible collusion between the Trump team and Moscow during the presidential campaign and the subsequent declaration that there was no proof of the President’s accusation that the Obama Administration had wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign was not a surprise for the Congressmen of the Committee.

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They would have already read the documentation provided by the FBI and the Department of Justice during the weekend on these controversial matters and thus were prepared for their respective lines of questioning.

For the Republican committee members the line was to question the role of those who leaked the information to the Press in recent months. In asking questions about the legality of such behaviour and possible legal consequences the aim was to defend the #oval office and to possibly put fear into any member of the Administration harbouring thoughts of leaking information in the future.

On the other hand the Democrats were on the attack against a White House that won an election by what could have been doubtful means and also to undermine the already low popularity of President Donald Trump.

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At the same time they wanted to take away from him his “fake news” reply to any criticism or leak damaging to the Oval Office.

Concerns

Both are legitimate tactics within the interest of the respective political parties but the tactics hide a truth that many do not want to admit.

Leaks have been a normal part of politics around the world for decades. They have been used against and also by governments to release information, or to discredit foes. Yet there are circumstances when leaks reveal concerns that worry members of any Administration. In these cases the leakers are known as whistleblowers.

Whistleblowers have helped uncover illegal activities both in government agencies and also in private enterprise companies. These revelations have proved so important that in some countries legislation exists to protect the whistleblowers.

Problems

The problem however is not simply in the identification of who provides the leaks but above all in certifying whether or not a serious problem exists that would not have been addressed without the action of those who leaked information.

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The problems revealed by leaks can go from defective products or illegal activities by private enterprise to illegal or unethical activities within government departments that are being covered up by part of the Administration.

While it would be easy to dismiss leakers as being “disloyal and criminal” as the Republican questioning led the public to believe yesterday, it must also be recognized that if problems did not exist within the agencies that such leaks would not occur. The number of leaks plaguing the Trump Administration would indicate that there are many within the government departments and offices worried by what they see happening around them.

Such accusations must be investigated. If the accusations are verified then the legal process must takes its course, but if the accusations are proof false or mendacious then those who leak them must also suffer the consequences.

In protecting the Oval Office the Republicans must not forget that the leaks they criticize have so far proven to be true. If this continues the perpetrators have served the country and not acted illegally. This is an unpleasant truth, but one that must be faced. #House Intelligence Committee