The Washington Post

Was President Obama the leaker?

Barack Obama (Associated Press)
It sure didn't seem like President Obama wanted this debate. (AP)

You'd be forgiven for getting that impression from his remarks in San Jose, Calif.:

You'll remember when I made that speech a couple of weeks ago about the need for us to shift out of a perpetual war mindset. I specifically said that one of the things that we're going to have to discuss and debate is how were we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy, because there are some trade-offs involved.

And I welcome this debate. And I think it's healthy for our democracy. I think it's a sign of maturity, because probably five years ago, six years ago, we might not have been having this debate. And I think it's interesting that there are some folks on the left, but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it who weren't very worried about it when it was a Republican president. I think that's good that we're having this discussion.

If Obama so welcomed this debate, his administration could have released the details on these proposals long ago. Doing so would, at the least, have allowed them to deliver a precise description of what is and isn't going on, thus avoiding the "numerous inaccuracies" James Clapper, director of national intelligence, decries but doesn't identify.

But the Obama administration didn't release the details on these programs. In fact, they've pursued an energetic war on the kinds of leaks that have led to details on these programs. So for Obama to say he "welcomes" this debate is a bit rich. He did everything in his power to keep it from happening. He may still try and throw the people who did create this debate in jail.

Unless, of course, he actually was the leaker.



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