The Obama administration’s nominee for a senior legal position at the Pentagon is one of the congressional staffers accused by Republicans and intelligence officials of stealing classified documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, Fox News has learned — and the controversy could imperil her shot at a major career promotion.
Sources on Capitol Hill and in the intelligence community say Alissa Starzak, a majority staffer on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) who has been nominated for the position of general counsel to the U.S. Army, is one of two SSCI employees accused by the panel’s Republicans, and by career intelligence officers, of having “stolen” the so-called Panetta Review: a classified study of the agency’s treatment of detainees prepared by former CIA Director Leon Panetta.
Starzak is a former assistant general counsel for CIA and, more recently, a deputy general counsel at the Defense Department for legislative affairs. She was nominated for the Army’s general counsel position in July of this year. With an eye on the clock, as the Senate prepares to revert to Republican control early next year, the Armed Services Committee approved Starzak’s nomination — without a recorded vote — on Dec. 9. But the nomination expired a week later, and must now be re-submitted to the committee, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as its likely chairman, in the next session of Congress.
A spokesperson for McCain said he is traveling and could not be reached for comment on whether he would support Starzak’s nomination going forward.
Asked whether Starzak would be re-nominated, Navy Commander Amy Derrick-Frost, a Pentagon spokeswoman, sent Fox News a terse email message: “We have no announcements at this time regarding the nomination.”
Likewise, Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, speaking for the White House, said only: “We are working through the holidays reviewing paperwork and making decisions about how and when we’ll re-nominate people who were not confirmed in the last Congress. We will obviously have more information when the next Congress begins.”
Starzak declined to comment for this article.
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