A leak of classified information last week by a person or persons unknown in the Obama administration compromised the national security of the United States.
The nature of the details which were leaked means that the leak had to have been made by a person or persons occupying a very high position in the administration. Speculation is that the leak was made so that President Obama could take credit for a successful operation which involved an agent infiltrating al-Qaeda and delivering a highly sophisticated and virtually undetectable new underwear bomb it had developed to U.S. officials, a bomb which by all accounts was going to be blown up on an incoming commercial flight to the U.S. and which would have resulted in massive loss of life.
In reality, the American contribution to the operation was minimal…it was a joint British/Saudi Arabian operation, the agent who penetrated al-Qaeda was a Saudi with a British passport and America only got involved in it at the very end and never played any kind of a lead role.
The American, British and Saudi/Arabian intelligence communities are furious because the operational details which were leaked meant that the operation had to be cut short and that it will be much harder to penetrate al-Qaeda in the future and gain first hand knowledge of its methods, capabilities and plans, if it can be done at all. The leak will also make foreign intelligence agencies much more wary of working with their U.S. counterparts. They were already wary because of past leaks and other unfortunate incidents and this leak will only serve to make a bad situation worse.
All of this clearly compromises America’s national security.
Congress is considering several investigations into the leak, the FBI is looking into it and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has ordered an internal review of the 16 agencies he controls, a review which predictably won’t include the White House or National Security Council though. Despite all these investigations it is highly unlikely that the identity of the person or persons who leaked the classified information will ever be known, especially if they are close to Obama. That would reflect very badly on him and therefore cannot be allowed to happen for fear of losing votes. Two things are clear however. He, she or they are very high up on the food chain in the administration and the motive for the leak had to have been to enhance Obama and his administration’s national security credentials in this election year and thus improve his chances of being returned to office. Burnishing Obama’s national security bona fides in the eyes of the electorate…that was the motive for the leak. Never mind that it compromised national security and never mind that America’s involvement in the operation was minimal. The political and public relations value of Obama taking credit for the operation was obvious and it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up.
Or so the perpetrator(s) thought.
There are many things that remain unclear about this whole sorry episode though and one of them is the extent of Obama’s involvement or lack of same, whether he authorized it, whether he heard about it and did nothing to stop it or whether he knew nothing about it and found out about it after the fact. We’ll probably never find those things out either, although it seems very odd that there was a press conference planned about the operation before the leak began attracting so much criticism. All things considered it seems inconceivable that he didn’t at least know about it beforehand in some fashion.
Did Obama authorize the leak? Did he hear about it and do nothing to stop it? Did he know nothing about it and find out about it after the fact? Who knows? Who will ever know?
One thing we do know however. He was prepared to take full advantage of the opportunity that presented itself and would have done so like he’s done in the past if he thought that the benefits would outweigh the consequences.
For himself, not the country.
That’s political opportunism of the worst kind.
That’s our President.