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Santorum: Terror Intel Leakers Are 'Traitors'

AP | August 11 2006

The disruption of an alleged terrorist plot to blow up airliners shows the importance of intelligence gathering and the need to pursue the "traitors" who recently leaked information about classified government programs, Sen. Rick Santorum said Friday.

Those classified programs "were important for us to be able to confront an enemy in time of war," Santorum said. "When people leak that kind of information, to me, that is traitorous activity."

Santorum, the No. 3 Senate Republican, acknowledged that he did not know whether classified programs recently brought to light by leaks, such as a National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping program, were involved in heading off the alleged terrorist plan to smuggle explosive components onto passenger jets.

The Bush administration has harshly criticized reports that revealed the existence of the warrantless wiretap program as well as another secret government initiative that accesses a huge databank of bank records.

"I think it is vitally important for us to understand that the compromises that have been made of American intelligence over the last few months were serious and that the traitors within the intelligence community who leaked that information, for whatever purposes, must be pursued aggressively," Santorum said.

Santorum, a close ally of President Bush, is locked in a difficult re-election battle with Democrat Bob Casey, Pennsylvania's state treasurer. The latest statewide independent poll showed Casey with a slight advantage.

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