As Noah noted, President Obama is claiming that it is “offensive” and “wrong” to suggest that White House officials had anything to do with leaks about the secret “kill list” and cyberattacks against Iran this past week. “The writers of these articles have all stated unequivocally that they didn’t come from this White House,” he says.
But if you look back at the New York Times scoop on the cyber program, it cites “members of the president’s national security team” who attended a meeting in the White House Situation Room:
At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.
“Should we shut this thing down?” Mr. Obama asked, according to members of the president’s national security team who were in the room.
Of course, we don’t know who exactly was in the room, but this a high-level national security meeting. The culprit may not be a “White House official,” but the leaks came out of a White House meeting — directly from the president’s top national-security advisers. This is not some guy in the bowels of the State Department passing e-mails to Julian Assange; it is one degree removed from the president.
UPDATE: The NYT “kill list” article also cites POTUS advisors: “In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.”