Senators Have Colorful Words After Classified Briefing on Leak

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, after largely unhelpful session on Pentagon leak: 'It’s just a s--- show'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2023 9:25 AM CDT
Senators Call Briefing on Pentagon Leak 'Gobbledygook'
A sketch of Jack Teixeira, seated second from right, appearing in US District Court in Boston on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Margaret Small)

After last week's flurry of headlines about the Pentagon intelligence leak and the arrest of Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira, the news flow has tapered off—for senators too, it seems. NBC News and the Hill report that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle left a Wednesday afternoon classified briefing on the leak wringing their hands over the lack of new information and clarity on what went wrong and when. Standout comments after the briefing led by National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, and others:

  • GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham: "It's just a s--- show. I didn't get a very good explanation of how this could happen. I'm just as confused now as I was before the briefing."
  • GOP Sen. Ron Johnson: "I would, by and large, typify it as bureaucratic gobbledygook."
  • Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal: I "left with more questions than answers. I remain deeply unhappy and unsatisfied with the structure and procedures of access. My impression coming out of that meeting is too many people have too much access to too much information without safeguards or guardrails."
  • GOP Sen. Marco Rubio: "Part of it is they don't know the answers, which is even worse," he said, expressing that he was left uncertain of the "full extent" of the leaks and why it wasn't noticed sooner.

The Hill notes that House lawmakers received a briefing of their own in the evening, and their takeaway mirrored that expressed by the senators who'd been briefed. Meanwhile, Teixeira, 21, appeared in federal court in Boston briefly on Wednesday. The AP reports a judge canceled a scheduled detention hearing after the defense requested and was granted more time to prepare. The New York Times notes prosecutors didn't object, as the delay will also give them more time to ready themselves "for the more consequential step—an indictment before a grand jury." (More Jack Teixeira stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.