Forget about closing the barn door after the horses get out. The latest orders from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are to pretend that there are no horses, they didn't get out, and those large whinnying creatures you see cantering about the meadow are not horses. From The New York Times:
A new pre-publication review policy for the Office of Director of National Intelligence says the agency's current and former employees and contractors may not cite news reports based on leaks in their speeches, opinion articles, books, term papers or other unofficial writings.
Such officials "must not use sourcing that comes from known leaks, or unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information," it says. "The use of such information in a publication can confirm the validity of an unauthorized disclosure and cause further harm to national security."
Failure to comply "may result in the imposition of civil and administrative penalties, and may result in the loss of security clearances and accesses," it says. It follows a policy that James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, issued in March that bars officials at all 17 intelligence agencies from speaking without permission to journalists about unclassified information related to intelligence.
A professor at Brown University notes that this is prior restraint—telling people they cannot quote information that is now within the public sphere whether the administration wanted it to be or not—and is a violation of the First Amendment rights of those affected.
Furthermore, the Times notes, the policy being updated once referred to the need to protect classified information. This new policy is broader: "to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of information." That's an extremely important and problematic twist. The Department of Justice, for example, has a reputation for overclassifying documents and keeping information secret that shouldn't be kept secret. Such a policy actually incentivizes ODNI to overclassify information to keep secret information that isn't pertinent to national security, but is problematic or embarrassing, from being discussed publicly by people connected to intel.