Leak Hypocrisy

Recall the zeal with which President Barack Obama’s DoJ is attacking leakers, to the point of a broad-band raid on AP reporters’ and editors’ (with its collateral raid on Congressmen) telephone records and an accusation of a specific reporter having criminal culpability in order to get a search warrant to obtain his personal emails (with its collateral raid on the reporter’s parents’ email).

A (draft) Defense Inspector General report on ex-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s leaks had some interesting things to say.

The first instance [of a leak] was a July 15, 2011, interview of the Pentagon’s top intelligence official, Michael Vickers, by the [Osama bin Laden raid] film’s director, Kathryn Bigelow, and screenwriter Mark Boal.  In that session Vickers gave them the name of a special operations planner whose identity was supposed to be protected from public release.


The second instance was a June 24, 2011, awards ceremony at CIA headquarters in which Panetta identified the ground commander of the SEALs raid, with Boal in attendance.  The report did not say whether Panetta knew Boal was present.

Of course Panetta knew, though.  Such gatherings at such a level in the government hierarchy are highly prestigious, if nothing else; additionally, the permissions/invites to attend are tightly controlled.  And what was a Hollywood screenwriter doing in a classified gathering, as this one had to be, with classified information like SEAL team identities being bandied about?

The IG report said the ground commander’s name was supposed to be protected from public release, under federal law.

Panetta then gave up the Pakistani doctor’s identity in a January ’12 60 Minutes interview:

[Afridi] was an individual, in fact that helped provide intelligence, that was very helpful in regards to this operation….

As a result of this report, Pakistan’s version of the 9/11 Commission concluded that the doctor was acting as an American agent.

Many of the SEAL team members have since been killed, and the Pakistani doctor is now in a Pakistani jail.

Where’s the administration’s hue and cry over these leaks?  Or is it that when the SecDef does it, it’s not illegal?

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