The recent congressional ire over the Obama administration's suspiciously convenient national security leaks reminded me of an unusual bit of political trivia: Defense Secretary -- and prior to that, CIA head -- Leon Panetta is the prime suspect in one of the most notorious political leaks of all time.
A sizable group of Republican senators have introduced a resolution in the Senate calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent special counsel to investigate high-level national security leaks to the media.
Yesterday evening, it was announced that Attorney General Eric Holder appointed two prosecutors to investigate alleged national security leaks to the media from the White House. But now two leading Senate Republicans are urging President Obama to appoint independent "outside special counsel" to investigate leaks, instead.
President Obama at a press conference this morning insisted that high-level national security leaks are not coming from the White House. "The notion that my White House would purposefully release classified information is offensive," President Obama said.
But a Republican memo from the Senate Republican Policy Committee maintains that either the president or the New York Times is wrong.
The story of the Stuxnet and Flame cyber exploits is so compelling that you almost don't care where it came from or if it represents a serious breach of national security. Almost. You can read David Sanger in the Times and Jonathan Last, here at THE WEEKLY STANDARD, and you crave more. Including Mr. Sanger's just-published book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power. The seductive power of this story resembles that of Enigma and Ultra and the codebreakers at Bletchly during the Second World War. And therein, of course, lies a problem.
Is the leak of 92,000 classified documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan now published by WikiLeaks and reprinted by the New York Times and some European publications a catastrophe? An affirmative answer is certainly suggested by a White House statement that says the document dump “could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security.”
Congress is coming close to passing a shield law that would exempt journalists from having to reveal their confidential sources when called to testify before grand juries in cases involving leaks of classified information.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LAWYER John Dion has worked on every major national security case of the past quarter-century, including the prosecutions of Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansen. Since 1997, he has run the counterespionage section within the Criminal Division. About once a week, the CIA advises his office of another case involving the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.