08/07/12: The Hill reports members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are considering lessening the penalties in proposed legislation designed to crack down on national security leaks. The lawmakers are considering softening penalties for leaks in a committee-approved bill authorizing intelligence agencies before the legislation hits the Senate floor. The bill approved by the committee would have stripped intelligence officials of their clearances for leaking to the press. It also would block national security officials from making contact with the media even after leaving government. Both of those provisions may now be weakened because of pressure from critics of the bill. After the Intelligence panel approved its version of the bill, it came under criticism from lawmakers and civil liberties groups who said it went too far in hampering media access.