by Alana Goodman
Anyone with eyes and ears can figure out that some of the recent national security leaks most likely came from the White House, and yesterday Sen. Dianne Feinstein finally acknowledged the obvious:
“I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. I don’t know specifically where, but they have to understand that and do something about it…
“To know what the president actually knows about this is difficult, because with respect to intelligence he is in a bubble. He has his [president’s daily brief] early every morning. And so he gets a briefing of intelligence. I don’t believe for a moment he goes out and talks about it. I don’t believe the briefers go out and talk about it. But who knows who else?”
Hmm. Was Feinstein suggesting in the second paragraph that the president might know the source of the leaks? That seems like a serious possibility. If the leaks came from the daily national security briefing as she indicates, clearly there is a finite number of people who could be the culprits. Feinstein rules out the briefers (Director of National Intelligence James Clapper), but suggests it could have been anybody else in the meeting.
Remember, David Axelrod vehemently denied that the leaks came from the White House in June:
“In both cases, they quote members of the president’s national security team who were in the room,” [ABC News' George] Stephanopoulos said. “So somebody who was in the room with the president was giving out some of this information or at least discussing classified information.”
“I think the authors of all of this work have said that the White House was not the source of this information,” Axelrod replied. “I can’t say that there weren’t leaks. There were obvious leaks, but they weren’t from the White House.” …
“The last thing that he would countenance or anybody around him would countenance are leaks that would jeopardize the security of Americans on these secret missions, and the success of those missions.”
“So you’re confident this investigation’s not going to show White House involvement?” Stephanopoulos said.
“Yes,” Axelrod said.
Feinstein hasn’t yet called for a special prosecutor, but based on her comments, it seems like that has to be the next move. Does anyone really expect the Department of Justice to fairly investigate a leak within the president’s inner circle? Unless the White House gets serious on this on its own (which would require appointing a special prosecutor anyway), there will have to be outside pressure before it’ll take action.Alana Goodman
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