Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats slammed leaks from inside the American government during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) asked Coats to explain how damaging intelligence leaks pertaining to the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election are to American national security.
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"Isn't it true that some of these leaks can be damaging to national security, Director Coats?" McCain asked.
"Leaks have become a very significant, played a very significant, negative role relative to our national security," Coats said. "The release of information not only undermines confidence in our allies about our ability to maintain secure information that we share with them; it jeopardizes sources and methods that are invaluable to our ability to find out what's going on and what those threats are."
"Lives are at stake in many instances and leaks jeopardize those lives," Coats continued.
The discussion sprang from a series of anonymous leaks from the Trump White House in recent weeks that have led to bombshell reports in publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post, including reports that Trump discussed highly classified information with top Russian officials in the Oval Office.