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Feinstein: White House Behind National Security Leaks

The title of this post is from today's National Journal.  The Journal's story recounts that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) does not believe the President is personally behind the leaks, but that someone high in White House councils is.

This is serious business.  If, as some Republicans have suggested, the White House is leaking national security information to portray President Obama as shrewd and tough on terror  --  thus to assist in the campaign  --  it would be dangerous and contemptible, not to mention felonious.  One need only recall the outrage at the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative (actually, a CIA desk jockey) to understand how big a story this is.  Although the leaker, Richard Armitage, was not charged in the Plame affair, Vice President Cheney's chief-of-staff, Scooter Libby, was.  Libby was convicted of lying to the grand jury and sentenced to prison (President Bush commuted the prison time, as recommended by an obscure ex-prosecutor).

President Obama's appointee, Eric Holder, cannot reasonably be counted upon to investigate this matter.  This is not because of any personal shortcomings on Mr. Holder's part.  It's because he has a fat conflict of interest:  His ability to stay in his job depends on the President's re-election.

The damage caused by the leaks is potentially quite serious, as explained after the break.  With the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee now saying that the leaks come from the White House, the time has come for the appointment of an independent special counsel.
As John Hinderaker at Powerline has noted:

Obama administration officials, up to and including cabinet officers, have fed...reporters at the New York Times, the Washington Post and other newspapers stories about how Barack Obama has personally overseen a campaign of violent reprisal against Islamic terrorists. Now, I am entirely in favor of violent reprisal against Islamic terrorists-more so, no doubt, than President Obama-but the problem is that the administration's leaks have endangered American intelligence sources, like the guy who infiltrated Yemen's al Qaeda and emerged with a prototype weapon. His cover was blown by President Obama or his minions and he is now in hiding. Or the Pakistani who played a role in killing Osama bin Laden, whose cover was blown by the Obama administration and has now been sentenced to decades in prison, where he is likely being tortured, at this moment, by Islamic radicals. 

Paul Mirengoff added:

Some of the leaks in question pertain to a cyber attack on Iran authorized by the Obama administration. Last week, the New York Times revealed U.S. involvement with the Stuxnet virus that was used against Iranian nuclear facilities and caused centrifuges to explode. The story detailed joint U.S. and Israeli efforts to develop the virus, as well as conversations Obama had with his advisors on whether to continue the program when the virus became public in 2010. It cited unnamed current and former U.S., Israeli and European officials.

Other leaks pertain to U.S. drone attacks on terrorists and, most notably, Obama's role in selecting which terrorists will be targeted. These leaks are ironic because, as Glenn Greenwald notes, the administration has taken the position in court that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of drone operations.

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