By Steven E. Levingston
Monday, December 13, 2010; 4:50 PM
He railed against such unconscionable conduct -- there was that press conference in October 2001 where then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld growled about leakers of classified documents.
And then in July of the following year he circulated an internal memo, which no sooner tumbled into public view, in which he wagged a censorious finger again. Defense officials who were handing over secrets to the press demonstrated a "damaging lack of professionalism," the secretary ranted. "It is wrong. It is against the law. It costs the lives of Americans. It diminishes our country's chance for success."
That was then.
This is now: Rumsfeld, who is about to publish his new memoir, "Known and Unknown," has indicated that his narrative will be juiced by a dump of classified documents. To be sure, he's NOT compromising U.S. secrets or service members but merely creating some early buzz for the new book, due in February from Sentinel.
As he put it in a tweet, "With my book I will release 100s of supporting docs on a website--many previously classified, but unlike #Wikileaks, all cleared by USG."
We can be fairly sure that what applied to the leakers of yore will not apply to Rumsfeld himself. In his rage over his sieve-like Pentagon back in 2002, he wanted to hunt them down. "They ought to be imprisoned," he said then. "And if we find out who they are, they will be imprisoned."
Sentinel declined to comment on the documents or the book.