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The Corner

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All Leaks Bad — Except Some



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Before Jay Carney or the president go out again they really need to sit down and get their stories straight: When the IRS apologizes, it is not a matter of “if.” When the president keeps talking about a film maker as a culprit, it is not proof that he knew the attack was a preplanned al-Qaeda hit. Changing phrases, dropping sentences, and expunging nouns are not mere “stylistic” editing. 

More improbably, we are to believe that the administration, in dire worry about monumental leaks (to paraphrase Eric Holder, some of the most serious in his career), without warning taps into the public and private correspondence of AP reporters. Yet—aside from the fact that this is an administration that supposedly has gone after leakers at twice the rate off all prior administrations combined— Obama et al. certainly do not worry about all leaks. 

After all, we remember not long ago that critical information leaked about the so-called Stuxnet virus that harmed the Iranian centrifuges; we remember leaks describing how the president, in philosophical angst about the drone killings, turned to Aquinas for solace; and we remember that leaks told us that the always-on-the-job Obama administration had a so-called double agent that exposed a plot in Yemen. In addition, we learned of the heroic but classified details of the Obama-ordered bin Laden raid.

In other words, when the Obama administration wants the public to appreciate its unheralded and successful accomplishments, it leaks classified information that imperils national security (did the Taliban really need to know the precise units and their methodology of operation that took out bin Laden?) — and leaks so much that former defense secretary Bob Gates is said to have been reduced to threatening John Brennan with “shut the f*** up!” Yet one wonders whether the administration tapped the phones of David Ignatius or David Sanger on rumors that by some strange happenstance they got the classified information about the most intimate moments of Obama as commander-in-chief and protector of the realm and wrote quid pro quo paeans despite the national-security implications?

Ditto the televised dramatics of the Obama team huddled around consoles as they saw the raid against bin Laden unfold in real time — a photo opportunity not repeated when live feeds from Benghazi began coming in about the al-Qaeda attacks. Certainly, that evening when Americans were on the defensive rather than the offensive, nobody deemed it necessary to bring in the photographers to capture the Obama team in mediis rebus. Translated into Animal Farm terms: All leaks bad — except some. All hands-on-operations are televised — unless they go badly. Give classified information to reporters — if they are cooperative.



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