Kelly Slams Manchester Intelligence Leak: 'It's Outrageous,' 'Darn Close to Treason'

May 28, 2017

The latest in the series of leaks from the White House are "outrageous," according to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, and even "darn close to treason."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was forced to apologize for intelligence leaks from the investigation into Monday's suicide terror attack in Manchester, according to CNN. United Kingdom officials temporarily suspended intelligence sharing as a result.

Kelly's comments came after British Prime Minister Theresa May reacted angrily to the leaks ahead of a NATO meeting which both she and President Trump attended. In response, Trump promised to bring the resources of the Justice Department to bear on finding and prosecuting leakers.

"Fox News Sunday" Host Chris Wallace quizzed Kelly on the Manchester leaks, pressing him on how and why the administration faced such persistent problems.

"How was this kind of sensitive information leaked to the New York Times," Wallace asked, "and General, why is it that, whether it's politics or terror, our intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies can't keep a secret?"

"It's outrageous," Kelly said.

For his part, Kelly acted immediately to engage the British.

When I called—immediately after the attack, I called my counterpart in UK, offered my condolences," he said. "She rightfully and very graciously accepted the condolences, and leaned into me on this leak."

"It's outrageous," Kelly repeated. "I don't know why people do it. It jeopardizes not only the investigations, but puts people's lives in jeopardy."

In claiming as much, he echoed the sentiments of Democrats like Sen. Chris Coons (Del.) and Rep. Terri Sewell (Ala.), as well as former Obama intelligence officials like former CIA Director James Brennan and former DNI James Clapper.

"I don't know why people do it," Kelly said, "but they do. And that's the world we live in."

In a separate interview on "Meet The Press," Kelly addressed the issue again, saying it was unacceptable and possibly treasonous.

"When you leak the kind of information that seems to be routinely leaked—high, high level of classification–I think it's darn close to treason," he said.

UPDATE: 11:54 A.M.: This article was updated with video and comments that Kelly made on "Meet The Press."