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The Crime of Leaking

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The leaks of classified information regarding the methods of America's antiterrorism efforts have been much in the news lately.  Two US Attorneys have been appointed to conduct a criminal investigation.  (See AP story by Pete Yost.)  So what's the crime?  Here is, in part, 18 U.S.C. ยง 793:

(d)Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with ... information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it ...
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Beyond doubt, telling Iran (via the New York Times) how we used malware to disrupt their attempts to acquire a nuclear weapon will enable them to reduce their exposure to such attacks.  Hence, it will hasten the day when they can acquire nukes to threaten us or our allies directly or hand them over to terrorists to attack us.

President Obama says it is "offensive" to think than anyone in his White House would do such a thing just to make him look tough and boost his reelection chances.  It is indeed offensive.  It is also the most likely explanation consistent with the presently known facts.  The New York Times quotes "members [note the plural] of the president's national security team who were in the [situation] room." Is the NYT lying that it got sensitive information from people high enough up to have been in the situation room?  Not likely.  We know that this administration is chock full of hard-core leftists.  We know that ever since the 60s the American left has had a strong element of contempt for national security and the military.  It is entirely plausible that highly placed persons in the administration are the sources of the leaks.

If the leakers are, in fact, close associates of the President, will they do the time?  Very doubtful.

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