Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C.
— The White House has engaged in “outrageous” leaking in an obvious attempt to enhance President Obama’s re-election efforts, Joe diGenova, the former U.S. Attorney in Washington, tells Newsmax.
“There has been a pattern of stories — not just a story — but a pattern of stories clearly leaking sources and methods information in order to make the president look like he is a tough cookie,” says diGenova, a noted commentator on legal and political issues.
“When you look at the series of stories, they run over a set period of time,” diGenova says. “Not once during that time that these three or four articles were appearing did you hear an objection from the White House, not from the press podium, not from the president, not from the national security advisor, not from the CIA director, not from the Department of Defense, and not from the National Security Council.”
That clearly indicates the leaks were authorized, says diGenova.
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“For purposes of policy and politics and the protection of sources and methods and getting people to cooperate with us overseas, this has been a disaster, and I don’t think it is something that is going to be ignored,” diGenova says.
While Obama and his aides could not be prosecuted if Obama authorized the leaks, “He has a very serious political problem, which means he has abused the power of the presidency for political purposes in order to burnish his image,” diGenova says.
As noted in my story Former Prosecutor: Leak Case Is “Not Prosecutable,” John L. Martin, a former Justice Department prosecutor who was in charge of leak investigations, says Obama should be asked under oath by the FBI if he authorized the disclosures.
Aside from the harm to intelligence agencies, the Secret Service should be horrified at a New York Times article detailing how Obama authorizes terrorist kills with drone strikes because it exponentially increases the difficulty of protecting the president, diGenova says.
“You have to ask yourself, who is the adult around the president sitting him down and verbally slapping him across the face and saying do you have any idea what you have unleashed,” diGenova says. “Al-Qaida wants to kill Americans. Now, they probably want to kill you more than ever as a result of what you have done by allowing yourself purposefully to be identified in the article as the target master.”
In addition, the article destroys plausible deniability, which the United States government has used historically “to insulate a president from responsibility for certain acts which we don’t talk about in decent company,” diGenova says.
“Well, apparently, this president and his advisers have decided that this conversation about murder and mayhem is perfectly good for this president,” says diGenova, a partner at diGenova and Toensing in Washington. “It is an amazing performance. It is beyond amateurish. It threatens the institution of the presidency by its boldness and its stupidity.”
Another New York Times story revealed U.S. efforts to destroy Iran’s nuclear program with cyber attacks using a virus called Stuxnet.
“The Stuxnet article revealed . . . that the Israelis were deeply involved with our people in designing the software which became the virus that led to the ability to corrupt the software programs in the Iranian nuclear program,” diGenova says. “But it also led to identifying the particular unit inside Israel which was responsible for the production and cooperation of this effort. It is just mind boggling that anyone would think that these types of disclosures would be helpful to the United States.”
As a result of other leaks, a Pakistani doctor is in custody, sentenced to 33 years in prison, diGenova notes. “We had to pull our Saudi informant who found the new underwear bomb,” diGenova says. “He had to be removed from the country and brought to the United States, apparently with his family, for protection.”
If Obama were a Republican and the liberal media were not in love with him, the leaks would be a national scandal, diGenova says. That is the way the press depicted the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, diGenova says. But he notes that while she was undercover, she was not in a covert capacity as defined by a law prohibiting disclosure of the names of CIA operatives. Nor was real-time intelligence compromised.
In that case, the press blamed the Bush White House for the disclosure, but the culprit turned out to be State Department official Richard Armitage, a critic of Bush administration foreign policy. As noted in my story Pattern of White House Leaks Threatens Nation’s Security, the New York Times ran 521 stories suggesting it was wrong for the White House, and specifically Karl Rove, to divulge her name. Only 27 articles mentioned Armitage, the person who actually leaked her name to columnist Robert Novak.
“We have created for ourselves the worst scenario for our intelligence officials working overseas who are attempting to recruit foreign nationals to work with us and give us information,” diGenova says. “Those foreign nationals who want to help us now have second thoughts: Who will protect my identity? Will I be sacrificed like the Pakistani doctor or the Saudi informant on the altar of President Obama’s re-election effort to make himself look good, to make himself look strong so he can fight the image of Democrats being weak on national security?”
Calling the leaks “disgraceful,” diGenova says they amount to a “campaign commercial” for Obama.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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