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National Security Leaks Coming From Obama's Ranks

- July 24, 2012

Obama Administration Not As Quick To Call For Special Counsel Now That Its Leaks Are Under Scrutiny

TODAY, DEMOCRAT SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN SAID OBAMA NEEDS TO "DO SOMETHING" ABOUT LEAKS COMING FROM HIS ADMINISTRATION

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): "I Think The White House Has To Understand That Some Of This Is Coming From Its Ranks. I Don't Know Specifically Where, But I Think They Have To Begin To Understand That And Do Something About It." SENATOR DIANNE FEINSTEIN: "I am aware of that, I think that's a correct analysis. I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. I don't know specifically where, but I think they have to begin to understand that and do something about it. I mean, there's one book they can read and they'll see it very clearly. And I think that should be the case. I think you know what the president actually knows about this is difficult because with respect to intelligence he is in a bubble. He has his daily brief, called the PDB, the President's Daily Brief, early every morning. And so he gets briefing from intelligence I don't believe for a moment that he goes out and talks about it, I don't believe the briefers go out and talk about it, but who knows who else. And I think that the importance of this has to be really set by the president himself. And hopefully he will do it, and I think he'll most likely read the book and see it himself." (World Affairs Council, Washington, DC, 7/23/12)

OBAMA IN THE PAST CRITICIZED LEAKS AND ADVOCATED INDEPENDENT AND TRANSPARENT INVESTIGATIONS

Obama Campaign In 2008: "Barack Obama Will Bring The American People Together Around Our Foreign Policy And Get Politics Out Of Intelligence." "Too often he politicized intelligence and shut out the peoples' representatives. Barack Obama will bring the American people together around our foreign policy and get politics out of intelligence." (Obama For America, "Challenging Washington To Seek A New Beginning," 10/2/07)

  • Obama Criticized "Leaks And Innuendo In Pursuit Of Failed Policy," And Said They "Should Never Happen Again." "The conviction today underscores what happens when our foreign and national security policies are subverted by politics and ideology. Leaks and innuendo in pursuit of a flawed policy lead to shameful episodes such as this. It should never happen again." (Senator Barack Obama, Statement On Scooter Libby Verdict, 3/6/07)

In 2007, Biden Called For A Special Counsel Investigation Into The CIA Interrogation Tapes, Saying He Refused To Accept The Attorney General's Word "On Face Value." SENATOR JOE BIDEN: "It appears as though there may be an obstruction of justice charge here, and tampering with evidence, and destroying evidence. And this - I think this is one case where it really does call for a special counsel. I think this leads right into the White House. There may be a legal and rational explanation. But I don't see any on the face of it." ABC'S GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: "So let me stop you right there. You say special counsel. You don't believe that the investigations asked for by the Inspector General, the CIA and the Attorney General are sufficient?" BIDEN: "No, I don't. Let me put it this way. Rhetorical question. Anything this Attorney General's offices have done since this guy has become president that you're going to take on face value? Not me. Not me. No, I don't have any confidence." STEPHANOPOULOS: "Well this, is a new Attorney General with a track record. He's gotten the support of many Democrats in his confirmation process. Do you have reason not to trust Michael Mukasey?" BIDEN: "Well, he's brand-new. I voted against Mukasey. He's the same guy who couldn't decide whether or not waterboarding was torture. And he's going to be doing this investigation." (ABC's "This Week," 12/9/07)

  • Biden: "The Easiest, Straightest Thing To Do, Is Take It Out Of The Political Realm, Appoint A Special Prosecutor And Let Them Decide And Call It Where It Is." SENATOR JOE BIDEN: "One of the issues here, is did the CIA use the waterboarding technique and apparently did. Why did they destroy the tapes? You know, I just think this is getting very convoluted. And I think the easiest, straightest thing to do, is take it out of the political realm, appoint a special prosecutor and let them decide and call it where it is. Is there a criminal violation? If there is, proceed. If not, don't." (ABC News' "This Week," 12/9/07)

In 2003, Biden Said A Special Counsel Was Needed To Investigate A National Security Breach Because He Thought It Would Bolster " Public Confidence In The Integrity Of This Investigation ." "Four senior Senate Democrats wrote that they have identified 'at least five serious missteps' that might have fatally compromised the findings of the investigation being conducted by the US Justice Department. 'We are at risk of seeing this investigation so compromised that those responsible for this national security breach will never be identified and prosecuted,' senators Tom Daschle, Carl Levin, Joe Biden and Charles Schumer wrote in their letter. … The Democrats also restated a longstanding concern that the probe is being led by US Attorney General John Ashcroft, who has close personal and professional ties with several subjects of the investigation. 'Public confidence in the integrity of this investigation would be substantially bolstered by the appointment of a special counsel,' the Democratic lawmakers wrote." ("In Letter To Bush, Lawmakers Criticize 'Serious Missteps' In Leak Probe," AFP, 10/9/03)

TODAY FACED WITH ACCUSATIONS OF INTENTIONALLY LEAKING NATIONAL SECURITY SECRETS, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS DUCKING AND WEAVING

Obama: "The Notion That My White House Would Purposely Release Classified National Security Information Is Offensive." PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong. And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office." (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

  • Obama Said He Has "Zero Tolerance For These Kinds Of Leaks" And Promised That The People Responsible "Will Suffer Consequences." PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "Well, first of all, I'm not going to comment on the details of what are supposed to be classified items. Second, as Commander-in-Chief, the issues that you have mentioned touch on our national security, touch on critical issues of war and peace, and they're classified for a reason -- because they're sensitive and because the people involved may, in some cases, be in danger if they're carrying out some of these missions. And when this information, or reports, whether true or false, surface on the front page of newspapers, that makes the job of folks on the front lines tougher and it makes my job tougher -- which is why since I've been in office, my attitude has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation. Now, we have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences. … And we will continue to let everybody know in government, or after they leave government, that they have certain obligations that they should carry out. But as I think has been indicated from these articles, whether or not the information they've received is true, the writers of these articles have all stated unequivocally that they didn't come from this White House. And that's not how we operate." (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: "Any Suggestion That The White House Has Leaked Sensitive Information For Political Purposes Has No Basis In Fact…" WH SPOKESMAN JAY CARNEY: "This administration takes all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks of classified information or sensitive information that could risk ongoing counterterrorism or intelligence operations. Any suggestion that the White House has leaked sensitive information for political purposes has no basis in fact and has been denied by the authors themselves, as one of the authors of The New York Times story on Obama's counterterrorism record said, 'The notion that the White House prompted the story or controlled our reporting and writing is absurd.'" (White House Press Gaggle, 6/7/12)

  • Carney: "Our Interest Is Always In Protecting Sensitive Information, Protecting Classified Information, Because It's Important For Our National Security." QUESTION: "My question is, was this -- my colleagues and I asked, was this an authorized leak?" WH SPOKESMAN JAY CARNEY: "No. And I think that the reason why people pointed you to the author is that he has made clear that his reporting on this initiated elsewhere. Look, our interest is always in protecting sensitive information, protecting classified information, because it's important for our national security. In fact, some people are frustrated by that approach that we take because it is so vital to the ability of our men and women both in uniform as well as in the intelligence community to protect the United States and to fulfilling their missions that we protect that information. So I think the reason why people pointed you to the author is because he knows best where he got his information and had made that clear." (Jay Carney, Press Briefing, Washington, DC 6/4/12)

Obama Campaign Adviser David Axelrod Said "This Administration Has No Interest In Leaking Classified Information," But Did Not Deny "That The Stories That Have Been Written Have Been Helpful To The President." OBAMA ADVISER DAVID AXELROD: "I say that's nonsense. This administration has no interest in leaking classified information. We don't want to see it leaked from Capitol Hill and we don't want to see it leaked from the administration. It's not helpful. The fact is there are leaks and sometimes we're confronted with those leaks and we're asked about those leaks. That's a different situation, but I wholly discount that." CNN'S WOLF BLITZER: "You totally reject this notion that there have been these authorized leaks of classified information in order to help bolster the president's chances to make him look strong?" AXELROD: "The intimation is that the story is helpful to the president." BLITZER: "Which story is that?" AXELROD: "That the stories that have been written have been helpful to the president. I'll let other people judge that, but we're not the source of those stories." (CNN's "Situation Room," 6/7/12)

Obama Senior Adviser David Plouffe On Leaks: "[O]bviously People Need To Be Held Accountable If They Did Something Wrong." CNN'S CANDY CROWLEY: "Well, let me ask you quick questions about some other issues. Are you confident, can you say right now that no one in the White House leaked any information about the so-called 'kill list,' the cyberspace attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, or the presence of an al Qaeda mole?" OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER DAVID PLOUFFE: "Yes. Well, listen, I'm not going to speak specifically about, you know, classified information. I think that the author of that book has said that, you know, any of this information didn't come from the White House. There is going to be an investigation." CROWLEY: "Do you know that though for sure?" PLOUFFE: "Well, listen, I'm not conducting the investigation. There is going to be two United States attorneys who have been appointed by the attorney general, including a Bush appointee. But we're going to look at this thoroughly, as it should. Listen, the president said he has zero tolerance for any leaks in this area. He relies on this information. He has got to have the ability, obviously, to make sure it is secure and make information. So this investigation will be thorough and obviously people need to be held accountable if they did something wrong." (CNN's "State Of The Union," 6/17/12)


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