Here’s a recent Washington Post headline:
U.S. launches secret drone campaign to hunt Islamic State leaders in Syria
The campaign may have once been secret. But the story, even the mere headline, makes certain that it will no longer be so. Hard to know what is lost in the way of tactical advantage. People who are being bombed are usually aware of the fact. So the news comes as no surprise to our enemies who are the targets of the strikes. And if the Post is publishing now, then it seems likely that the “secret” was well known to many in Washington where inside information is coin of the realm, freely traded for status.
Somebody (or somebodies) told the Post and there must have been something in it for the leaker(s). It might seem a betrayal of some sort to the rubes and innocents outside of Washington but they famously don’t understand the rules. Washington is enjoying itself enormously right now by pawing through the e-mails of former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. One wonders what the long term price of this short term guilty pleasure will be. Somehow, if you think about national security and safety, it seems less funny. This is the United States State Department. At the very least, there is a loss of dignity. Which ought to count for something.
But the game is the game. This is the same Washington that was obsessed for months over the question of who blew the cover of a CIA officer. This, in spite of the fact that it was well known in Washington where she worked and she was no more “undercover" than that drone program is “secret." Still, the chase went on and prosecutors eventually ran someone to ground. He turned out to be the wrong guy, but they got him on, essentially, a jaywalking beef.
And that’s how they roll in the Imperial City.