Exactly what i was thinking...
Exactly what i was thinking...
ETA: Is O so desperate to appear like he's 'winning' the war on terror for campaign reasons that he is boasting and bragging about things that should never have been released publically? He just admitted doing a cyberattack on a sovereign nation. ?!
Between this admission and the whole 8 page NYT Drone article - the word 'amateur' doesn't even begin to describe it. Oh and throw in the General who said we were parachuting into NK - that's 3 war 'secrets' that had no business being made public.
Loose lips and the Obama national security ship
By Adam Levine, with reporting from Pam Benson and Ann Colwell
June 1st, 2012
07:09 PM ET
The level of detail spilling out through media reports about crucial national security operations is raising the question of whether President Barack Obama's administration can keep a secret - or in some cases even wants to.
In just the past week, two tell-all articles about Obama's leadership as commander-in-chief have been published, dripping with insider details about his sleeves-rolled-up involvement in choosing terrorist targets for drone strikes and revelations about his amped-up cyber war on Iran.
Each article notes the reporters spoke to "current and former" American officials and presidential advisers, as well as sources from other countries.
"This is unbelievable ... absolutely stunning," a former senior intelligence official said about the level of detail contained in the cyberattack story.
The official noted that the article cited participants in sensitive White House meetings who then told the reporter about top secret discussions. The article "talks about President Obama giving direction for a cyberweapons attack during a time of peace against a United Nations member state."
The article follows on the heels of what many considered dangerous leaking of details about a mole who helped foil a plot by al Qaeda in Yemen. The revelations of the British national threatened what was described at the time as an ongoing operation.
"The leak really did endanger sources and methods," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California and chair of the Intelligence Committee, told Fox News.
The Yemen plot had many intelligence and national security officials flummoxed and angered by its public airing. Despite that, a senior administration official then briefed network counterterrorism analysts, including CNN's Frances Townsend, about parts of the operation.
But such briefings are an "obligation" for the administration once a story like the Yemen plot is publicized, insisted National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
"The reason that we brief former counterterrorism officials is because they are extremely conscientious about working with us about what can and cannot be said or disclosed," Vietor told Security Clearance. "They understand that there is an obligation for the U.S. to be transparent with American people about potential threats but will work with us to protect operational equities because they've walked in our shoes."
Subsequently, the intelligence committee initiated a review of its agencies to assess the leak. The FBI launched an investigation as well.
Perhaps the highest profile intelligence coup for the administration, the killing of Osama bin Laden, was followed almost immediately by criticism of how much detail was leaking out. Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates complained that after officials agreed in the Situation Room not to reveal operational details, it was mere hours before that agreement was broken.
"The leaks that followed the successful bin Laden mission led to the arrest of Pakistanis and put in danger the mission's heroes and their families," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said in an interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."
Questions were raised about why details of documents and other articles that were seized during the raid were discussed even before the intelligence community had time to review what they were holding.
Leon Panetta, who at the time was the director of the CIA and is now the defense secretary, penned a letter to CIA staff warning against loose lips.
In the letter, obtained by CNN, Panetta wrote that the operation, "led to an unprecedented amount of very sensitive - in fact, classified - information making its way into the press."
"Disclosure of classified information to anyone not cleared for it - reporters, friends, colleagues in the private sector or other agencies, former agency officers - does tremendous damage to our work. At worst, leaks endanger lives," the letter said.
In the latest case, the White House denied it was orchestrating the leak. Asked Friday if the Times' story detailing the cyberattack on Iran was an "authorized leak," White House spokesman Josh Earnest disagreed "in the strongest possible terms."
"That information is classified for a reason. Publicizing it would pose a threat to our national security," Earnest told reporters.
But the White House has tried to be more open about what have been secretive programs. The president himself became the first administration official to acknowledge U.S. drones were conducting attacks in Pakistan when he made a comment to a supporter in an online chat, even though officials through all the years of the program had never said publicly they were being conducted.
Then, in April, the president's assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, John Brennan, publicly blew the cover off the drone program, saying in a speech that "yes, in full accordance with the law - and in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States and to save American lives - the United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific al Qaeda terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones."
But that speech, Vietor told CNN's Security Clearance last month, was carefully considered for how revealing it could be.
"I'm not going to get into internal deliberations, but as a general matter we obviously push to be as transparent as we can while being mindful of our national security equities," Vietor said.
National-security leaks must be plugged
By Dan Coats, Richard Burr and Marco Rubio, The Washington Post
Espionage is a dangerous business often seen only through a Hollywood lens. Yet the real-world operations, and lives, that inspire such thrillers are highly perishable. They depend on hundreds of hours of painstaking work and the ability to get foreigners to trust our government.
Sitting in a prison cell in Pakistan is one of those foreigners who trusted us. Shakil Afridi served as a key informant to the United States in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. This brave physician put his life on the line to assist U.S. efforts to track down the most-wanted terrorist in the world, yet our government left him vulnerable to the Pakistani tribal justice system, which sentenced him to 33 years for treason. The imprisonment and possible torture of this courageous man — for aiding the United States in one of the most important intelligence operations of our time — coincides with a deeply damaging leak in another case.
The world learned a few weeks ago that U.S. intelligence agencies and partners had disrupted an al-Qaeda plot to blow up a civilian aircraft using an explosive device designed by an affiliate in Yemen. This disclosure revealed sources and methods that could make future successes more difficult to achieve. The public release of information surrounding such operations also risks the lives of informants and makes it more difficult to maintain productive partnerships with other intelligence agencies. These incidents paint a disappointing picture of this administration’s judgment when it comes to national security.
The stakes are high: success or failure in our campaign to defeat plots by al-Qaeda. These leaks are inexcusable, and those responsible should be held accountable. FBI and CIA investigations are a good start, but more must be done to prevent intelligence disclosures of this magnitude.
The problem stems in part from the media’s insatiable desire for real-world information that makes intelligence operations look like those of filmmakers’ imaginations. That is understandable, but this hunger is fed by inexcusable contributions from current and former U.S. officials.
For example, why did the Obama administration hold a conference call May 7 with a collection of former government officials, some of whom work as TV contributors and analysts, to discuss the foiled bomb threat? In doing so, the White House failed to safeguard sensitive intelligence information that gave us an advantage over an adversary. Broadcasting highly classified information notifies every enemy of our tactics and every current and future partner of our inability to provide them the secrecy that often is the difference between life and death.
An underlying problem that can and must be fixed is the role of former national security officials who leave government and take jobs as talking heads for television networks. This common transition should be examined by Congress. Media outlets understandably value such officials because of their influential contacts, insights on security topics, and the provocative details and analysis they can add to a broadcast.
When they leave Capitol Hill, former members of Congress and their staff are, by law, prohibited from petitioning their former congressional colleagues for up to two years. Yet nothing restricts former security officials from using their government contacts and experience to provide live commentary on breaking news stories.
Furthermore, nothing limits current officials from using their media contacts to control a story — or to even promote a big-budget movie. We were shocked to learn that the White House has also leaked classified details of the bin Laden raid to Hollywood filmmakers, including the confidential identities of elite U.S. military personnel.
In almost all areas, we believe in the public’s right to full information. But national security often requires that intelligence operations remain under wraps. This can be the case especially when an operation has been a spectacular success and thus is enticing to the media.
As members of the Senate intelligence committee, we are exploring proposals to tighten restrictions on the way those who work in national security can exploit their contacts and experience after leaving public service so that damaging disclosures of intelligence do not occur. The keepers of our secrets need to be held to stricter standards. Of course, any congressional action must strike the proper balance of protecting First Amendment freedoms while safeguarding the intelligence that keeps our country safe.
Reckless disclosures of top-secret information compromise national security operations, undermine the hard work of our intelligence officers and overseas partners, and risk innocent lives. Congress’s intelligence oversight committees will not tolerate it, nor should the American people.
Dan Coats, Richard Burr and Marco Rubio, all Republicans, represent Indiana, North Carolina and Florida, respectively, in the U.S. Senate and are members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
... "Is this really such a mystery? The White House has been leaking classified material for over a year, as long as it make Obama himself look awesome." ...