US bomb plot: Probe into leak of `classified info`

An attempt by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to blow up a US-bound passenger plane was foiled on May 8.

Washington: Director of National Intelligence here has ordered an "internal inquiry" into whether or not there were any unauthorised disclosures of "classified information" related to the plot by al Qaeda to blow a US airplane earlier this week.

Amid rising clamour for an inquiry into the alleged leak director of National Intelligence James Clapper yesterday ordered the probe within the intelligence community.

Even though the Obama administration has supported a proposed legislation that intends to shield reporters from identifying their sources, the latest move appears to be a crack down on leaks.

Earlier, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had sought a probe into the matter.

An attempt by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to blow up a US-bound passenger plane was foiled on May 8; and an explosive device bearing resemblance to 2009 underwear bomb was seized.

"As a former director of the CIA, I have to tell you that those kinds of leaks are very harmful to the efforts of the intelligence community. Our whole effort is to try to be able to get individuals that can provide intelligence and that can work with us," Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon news conference yesterday.

Panetta was responding to questions on the leak in the US media about the foiled plot to blow the US airplane.

"To be able to do that and do that effectively, you have to protect these people, and you have to protect the confidence that -- and the classification and the covert nature of this kind of work. And when these leaks take place, I can`t tell you how much they damage our ability to be able to pursue our intelligence efforts," Panetta said expressing his dissatisfaction over such a leak.

"So I am fully in favour of a full and thorough investigation of this matter, and I understand that the director, the DNI (Director of National Intelligence) will do that," Panetta told reporters in response to a question.


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