Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Political Gain Trumps National Security for Obama

In July of 2003 Robert Novak had an article published in the New York Times that created quite an uproar because it supposedly outed a CIA operative by the name of Valerie Plame.  This was done, so the left theorized, in retaliation by the White House for Plame’s husband, Joe Wilson, having had the temerity to tell about the administration’s attempt to “manufacture evidence to gin up support for going to war in Iraq”.   

The fact was that Wilson’s “fact-finding mission” to Niger to determine whether Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was trying to acquire yellowcake uranium from them had enormous holes and contradictory statements in his report on the trip.  Indeed, The Iraq Intelligence Commission and the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded that many of Wilson’s claims were incorrect.  Further, the Senate report stated that Wilson’s report actually bolstered rather than detracted from intelligence about the purported sale of uranium to Iraq.  To this day, British Intelligence stands by the claim that Saddam Hussein did indeed attempt to acquire such material from Niger.

With all of that said and done, the progressive mainstream media nonetheless had a field day regarding the supposedly “politically-motivated” security leaks regarding the outing of a CIA agent.  Indeed the New York Times ran no less than 521 articles suggesting it was wrong of the White House, and presidential advisor Karl Rove in particular, to divulge such information.  So vexed were the Democrats that Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft saw to it that a special counsel by the name of Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to investigate the case in depth.   Mr. Fitzgerald though seemed more bent on finding Republicans in the administration to skewer rather than any real interest in finding out who was the actual source of the leak.  Indeed he was told at the very beginning of his investigation that a high ranking State Department official who was critical of the Bush administration’s foreign policy by the name of Richard Armitage was the source of the leak that outed Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent.  Fitzgerald proceeded with the investigation anyway in the hope of trying to find any sort of malfeasance on behalf of such possible trophies as Karl Rove or possibly even Vice President Dick Cheney himself.  What he ended up with was a perjury conviction of Cheney’s assistant Scooter Libby for statements that really weren’t even particularly pertinent to the leaking of Plame’s identity from Armitage.

In September of that year, Novak stated, "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. There is no great crime here," adding that while he learned from two administration officials that Plame was a CIA employee, "[The CIA] asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else. According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative and not in charge of undercover operators."

The case was closed.  The left was disappointed that they were unable to catch a bigger fish in the “scandal” than Scooter Libby, and they decried that national security was weakened because an agent who was not working undercover and who was widely known in the DC cocktail circuit had her identity proclaimed to the world for purely crass political reasons.

Fast forward a little less than a decade and it would seem that numerous security leaks that have been done almost assuredly with White House knowledge if not outright orders to do so for absolutely political reasons is now the norm.  Multiple recent stories of national security interest leaked to the press all have one thing in common; they try to make President Obama look like he is tough on terrorism and a stalwart hero on foreign policy accordingly.  The problem is that Obama’s leaks truly do endanger national security.  They put covert assets in mortal danger, destroy trust and credibility with our allies, and enable our enemies to determine how to plug holes in their security.

Indeed in early May the Associated Press reported that a CIA asset from Saudi Arabia had infiltrated al-Qaida and had thwarted another planned underwear bomb attack on a flight to the United States.  His cover thus being blown, the United States had to extract this asset thereby precluding him from gaining future intelligence to protect America. 

At the end of May, the New York Times reported how President Obama personally is choosing the targets on a classified “kill list” of terrorists via drone attacks. 

On June 1st, the New York Times ran an astonishingly detailed story regarding the administration’s working with Israel to create the Stuxnet computer worm to thwart Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  This removed plausible deniability for America and further exposed our ally Israel in the process. 

Immediately after the successful killing of Osama bin Laden last year, for which President Obama should indeed be congratulated, he released vital details of the mission including the fact that Seal Team 6 were the operators of the task.  Obama’s decision to take the announcement of this great coup to press so quickly after its execution precluded the ability of our intelligence agencies from following up on numerous other possible leads acquired during the successful raid.  Further, Pakistani Doctor Shakil Afridi reportedly provided critical intelligence on the location and identify of bin Laden thus allowing his termination to even be attempted.  Dr. Afridi is now serving 33 years in a Pakistani prison because of the public leaking of this information.  Such actions will make future would-be assets think twice about providing crucial information to the United States if they have to fear about their own safety or well-being.

“Too many people in too many places are talking too much about this operation,” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said after the bin Laden raid, adding that the level of disclosures and blabbing violates an agreement reached in the White House Situation Room on May 8, 2011, to keep details of the raid private.  “That lasted about 15 hours,” a very vexed Gates said.

So severe are these continued leaks of vital national security issues that they have even been a source of great concern to many Democrats in the House and Senate.  “The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable,” said the statement from Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. — the chair and ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee — and Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md. – the chair and ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.  “Each disclosure puts American lives at risk, makes it more difficult to recruit assets, strains the trust of our partners, and threatens imminent and irreparable damage to our national security in the face of urgent and rapidly adapting threats worldwide.”

When asked about the seeming politically motivated release of such important national security information by the White House, spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, “This administration takes all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks of classified information or sensitive information that could risk ongoing counterterrorism or intelligence operation.  …Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible.”

Okay, I would like to be able to take that statement at face value; however, it doesn’t seem to jibe with the facts at hand.  First, there was absolutely no condemnation or attempt to suppress any of these leaks by the White House after they were publicized.  Second, there was no statement on the matters whatsoever until the White House was specifically asked by reporters.  If these leaks were truly not politically motivated, one would expect that some harsh statement from the White House would have been issued and a concerted effort made to find the source of these leaks immediately. 

No, once again, our dear President is putting his own political career above that of our national security.  This time though how many lives could potentially be affected for his own narcissistic gain?  How many lives have already been affected or even lost because of Obama’s political calculations, with our national security being damned in the process?  Barack Obama is not just in over his head as I had once believed.  He has now become a threat to the very well-being of this country and is in violation of his oath of office.  He must be removed as president and commander in chief.  One hopes America can survive the rest of the year until that finally comes to fruition.

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