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Did the White House give classified briefings on Libya to a friendly columnist?

The Daily Caller reports that Peter King, the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, is asking CIA director Gen. David Petraeus and White House national security adviser James Clapper to investigate whether a columnist for The Daily Beast received the same classified foreign policy briefings as President Obama. The Daily Beast columnist in question is Leslie Gelb, a crony of Joe Biden (back in 2006-07, they jointly pushed a plan for “federalism” in Iraq that amounted, in essence, to partition of the country).

King’s inquiry arises from Gelb’s defense of Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., who disgraced herself by appearing on multiple Sunday talk shows to characterize the attack in Benghazi as a protest of a YouTube video and to claim that the attack was a “spontaneous” uprising. In fact, the attack was a planned and orchestrated affair and there was no “protest.” Moreover, the Obama administration knew that this was a planned terrorist attack within 24 hours of Ambassador Stevens’ death.

Gelb defended Rice by blaming the intelligence community. He wrote:

Her mistake was taking the initial intelligence at face value. The White House briefers made the same error, and so did I. I too repeated in an op-ed on The Daily Beast what the intelligence briefers told me.

Given this statement, and in light of the Obama adminsitration’s history of leaking classified information, King presents Petraeus and Clapper with a series of questions:

Does Gelb have a security clearance and if so, at what classification level?

Did any employee or contracted employee of the Obama Administration and/or the U.S. Intelligence Community provide Gelb an intelligence briefing?

Did Gelb have access to intelligence also contained in the Presidential Daily Brief?

Was Gelb given “finished intelligence products, or signals, imagery or human intelligence reports, of equal or lesser classification level than those provided to Ambassador Rice?”

If disclosures of classified information to Dr. Gelb were authorized, was his publication of such intelligence also authorized?

If the disclosures were unauthorized, what penalties are in place to protect against such disclosures in the future?

Good questions, all.

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