During his press conference this morning President Obama was asked about the recent rash of national security leaks, some of which put the lives of US agents in danger. If you want to watch video of his awkward response go to The Hill. He feigned outrage, but he didn’t seem that outraged to me. He also claimed that there’s no way any of the leaks came from the White House.
“The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive,” Obama said at a brief White House news conference. “It’s wrong.”
He said his policy is one of “zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation.”
“If we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences … we will conduct thorough investigations as we have in the past,” he said.
He’s so outraged that he refuses to even consider appointing a special prosecutor to look into the matter.
Peggy Noonan addressed the national security leaks, and how even Democrats are calling foul in her weekend column.
Most ominously, there are the national-security leaks that are becoming a national scandal—the “avalanche of leaks,” according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, that are somehow and for some reason coming out of the administration. A terrorist “kill list,” reports of U.S. spies infiltrating Al Qaeda in Yemen, stories about Osama bin Laden’s DNA and how America got it, and U.S. involvement in the Stuxnet computer virus, used against Iranian nuclear facilities. These leaks, say the California Democrat, put “American lives in jeopardy,” put “our nation’s security in jeopardy.”
KT McFarland also weighed in, noting that leaks are nothing new in presidential administrations, but these are different.
But the Obama administration seems to have engaged in a systematic program of leaking the most highly classified information about our successful intelligence operations for its own political gain. It is difficult to come to that conclusion, but consider the following:
- The Bin Laden raid. As then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said at the time, “Frankly…on Sunday, in the Situation Room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out Bin Laden. That all fell apart on Monday, the next day.”
He reportedly blasted the Obama’s national security team at the White and suggested a new strategic communications plan, “to shut the f— up!”
- The Yemeni underwear bomb plot. The administration leaked operational details of the sting operation to the Associated Press before it was competed, according to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman New York Rep. Peter King.
- The cyberwar campaign against Iran’s nuclear program. Stuxnet, DuQu, Flame. These devastating computer viruses and worms had the Iranians scratching their heads – until details appeared on the front pages of the New York Times. Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned President Obama that “disclosures of this type endanger American lives and undermine America’s national security.”
This pattern of leaks has gotten so serious that Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have called for investigations.
But we’re just supposed to take Obama at his word when he tells us none of the leaks came from the White House. Who knows, maybe they came from his top campaign operative, David Axelrod, who sits in on the Kill List meetings.
Update: Linked by What Would the Founders Think – thanks!