June 09, 2012
The Axelgate Leaks
I've been following the developing story on the leaks of sensitive national security information quietly.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor Tuesday to criticize the Obama administration's leaks of information on secret national security programs, blasting the White House for purposely leaking the info for political purposes.I'm not so much upset that the President's political team would talk about the success of various operations. Such as the killing of Osama bin-Laden. The foiling of a plot to bomb airliners by AQAP.
"What price was paid by the administration to proliferate such a presidential persona highly valued in an election year?" McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, asked. "The only conceivable motive for such damaging and compromising leaks of classified information is that it makes the president look good."
In fact I can find nothing wrong with the policy itself or even talking about the success in that area. Its one of the few points of agreement Jawa Report has with the Obama administration, Killing our enemies and hunting down terrorists seems only prudent.
What is bothersome is the leaking of details. Probably the most damaging leak was the information about the Pakistani Dr who collected DNA samples while running a vaccination program. That leak was extremely damaging, not only to the Dr. himself who is now serving 33 years in a Pakistani prison, but to NGO's and aid workers everywhere.
Its one of the Middle East's favorite conspiracy theories, that the Jews control all the NGO's and are part of some secret Zionist cabal to harvest organs, spread and infect the Muslims with the AIDS virus etc etc etc. The leak was not only damaging to our relations with Pakistan it hurts all NGO's everywhere that seek to aid those in need and build positive relations. That leak only served to bolster those conspiracy theories.
Eric Holder has assigned two prosecutors to investigate the leaks and there is a congressional investigation as well. Axelrod for his part has denied any involvement. A statement that I find hard to swallow, that the presidents chief political advocate knew nothing and had no involvement in leaks that seemed to serve the President's interests. Axelrod just doesn't seem like a hands off kind of guy in that respect.
Will the Attorney General's investigation find anything? Recent leaks and writings suggest that there is no love lost between Alexrod and Holder. But that might just be another well timed leak in order to bolster the appearance Holder has an interest in taking out the President's top political operative. Stay tuned on that one.
In the end its not hard to spin Obama's tactical successes in the war against terror as just that, success, without leaking details that hurt our ability as a country to continue to enjoy at least some tactical success against al-Qaeda. I'd hope that in the future that the President's team would be more careful about leaking details that need not be known.
While I enjoy these tactical successes, one might argue that overall the Obama administration's strategic policy has been less successful and even beneficial to Islamic terror groups. Which explains the need to talk so much about every tactical win.