Whose security is being endangered there?
Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., showing Obama administration sensitivity to the situation, has assigned two Justice Department attorneys to investigate.
The media, which complained this year that the administration was being too aggressive pursuing alleged leaks, are publicizing the exaggerated leak complaints while lamenting that government sources are becoming afraid to talk to reporters.
Last week the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence approved an amendment to the fiscal 2013 intelligence authorization bill titled “Preventing Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Information.”
Such a law wouldn’t prevent leaks. Leaks are part of the relationship between journalists and government officials, especially regarding national security.
Let’s face it, in the past three decades, national security leaks have become a part of the clever public relations that dominate U.S. politics and even government.
Here are the leaks that have generated the current fuss:.
●I’ve written about the story that seems to have gotten the ball rolling: a New York Times piece by David Sanger on June 1. It laid out details of the Stuxnet and Flame computer programs that introduced malware to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program and gather data to assist the project.
Sanger first wrote of the classified projects in January 2009, before Obama took office, based on Bush administration sources. More details poured out since then, in 2011 and this year from private computer security firms.
●There was the May leak about an intelligence agent who infiltrated the branch of al- Qaeda in Yemen and posed as a suicide bomber in a clever operation that uncovered a new type of underwear bomb. Though U.S. officials talked about it after its initial disclosure, the original leak came from Saudi intelligence, according to CBS News.
●Another so-called Obama administration leak is the disclosure of Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who aided the CIA in finding Osama bin Laden and who was arrested and convicted by the Pakistanis. His identity came to light after the May 2011 raid as a result of Pakistan’s probe and the doctor’s arrest, not from a U.S. leak.
That didn’t stop Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, from accusing the White House.
“They disclosed his identity,” he told Fox News.
●Another leak that has drawn GOP ire is the May 29 New York Times story that Obama has been personally approving the al Qaeda targets in Pakistan for CIA drone attacks. It’s hard to say what national security issue is endangered there, but it did burnish Obama’s image, already brightened by the bin Laden raid.
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked up the leak issue in a speech July 24 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, focusing initially on briefings and backgrounders after the Bin Laden raid. The sessions, he said, gave away “secret operational details.”