The Corner

Questions for Panetta

Two years ago, when President Obama picked Leon Panetta to head the CIA, I wrote a piece for NRO describing how Panetta had been considered the prime suspect in the leaking of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s famous “benign neglect” memo to Richard Nixon in 1970.

At the time, I suggested that a senator ask him in his hearing under oath if he was indeed the leaker of the document, in order to ascertain whether a known leaker was under consideration for one of our nation’s most important national-security positions. Panetta is now being picked for an even more important national-security position, and I still think he needs to be asked under oath whether he undercut Moynihan by giving the non-public memo to the New York Times.

Even though no senator took me up on the suggestion at the time, a number of things have changed in the intervening two years that make the question of Panetta’s position on, and possible history of, leaking even more important. First, the WikiLeaks contretemps has heightened awareness of our vulnerability to the problem of defense and security leaks. And second, just yesterday the Obama administration decided not to prosecute a Justice Department lawyer accused of leaking information about the Bush administration’s anti-terror wiretapping campaign, giving an apparent free pass to future leakers of classified information. These developments, coupled with this possible cloud in Panetta’s background, make it incumbent upon the Senate to determine where Panetta stands — and has stood — on the question of leaking sensitive government information to the media.

— Tevi Troy is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a former White House aide, and a former deputy secretary of health and human services.

Most Popular

Elections

The Media’s Bernie Sanders Makeover Begins

Just you watch: By the time Election Day rolls around in November, liberal columnists will be telling us that Bernie Sanders is the “real conservative” in the presidential race. Many among the center–left commentariat are struggling to come to terms with the likelihood that the Democratic Party will ... Read More
Elections

The Media’s Bernie Sanders Makeover Begins

Just you watch: By the time Election Day rolls around in November, liberal columnists will be telling us that Bernie Sanders is the “real conservative” in the presidential race. Many among the center–left commentariat are struggling to come to terms with the likelihood that the Democratic Party will ... Read More

Socialism . . . But?

For once, conservatives were ahead of the curve. American conservatism functioned as a political mass movement in the postwar era not because of the rhetorical gifts of its chief expositors (William F. Buckley Jr. et al.) nor because of the intellectual prowess of its best and most creative minds (ask George ... Read More

Socialism . . . But?

For once, conservatives were ahead of the curve. American conservatism functioned as a political mass movement in the postwar era not because of the rhetorical gifts of its chief expositors (William F. Buckley Jr. et al.) nor because of the intellectual prowess of its best and most creative minds (ask George ... Read More
Religion

Getting Real About Christianity

Charlotte, N.C. -- There were women weeping in a chapel here. One woman named Veronica was nearly inconsolable. She was talking about the crucifixion of Christ as if it was happening right then and there. She was feeling it. She was seeing it as the consequences of her sins. She was overwhelmed by the love of a ... Read More
Religion

Getting Real About Christianity

Charlotte, N.C. -- There were women weeping in a chapel here. One woman named Veronica was nearly inconsolable. She was talking about the crucifixion of Christ as if it was happening right then and there. She was feeling it. She was seeing it as the consequences of her sins. She was overwhelmed by the love of a ... Read More
NR Webathon

This Is Not a Drill

We may be months away from the most radical major-party nominee in American history. Bernie Sanders doesn’t belong on the Burlington City Council, let alone on the cusp of the American presidency, but that’s where the Democratic nomination would bring him. NR has jousted with socialists over the years ... Read More
NR Webathon

This Is Not a Drill

We may be months away from the most radical major-party nominee in American history. Bernie Sanders doesn’t belong on the Burlington City Council, let alone on the cusp of the American presidency, but that’s where the Democratic nomination would bring him. NR has jousted with socialists over the years ... Read More