President Obama says it’s offensive to suggest that his administration is leaking classified information for political purposes.
To be sure, we have no evidence that the administration is behind the series of leaks. Just because there’s been a never-ending series of leaks that cast the administration in a good light doesn’t mean that the administration is necessarily responsible for them.
But, is it really so outrageous to speculate? This is an administration that allowed the ATF to traffic guns to Mexican drug cartels in order to promote its domestic gun-control agenda. (Or, at least, that has never offered any alternative explanation.) It is not hard to believe that the same people might leak classified information for political purposes.
UPDATE: Alexander Kazam points out that the NYT story on Stuxnet includes a first-hand account from the White House situation room:
The culprit may not be a “White House official,” but the leaks came out of a White House meeting — directly from the president’s top national-security advisers. This is not some guy in the bowels of the State Department passing e-mails to Julian Assange; it is one degree removed from the president.
Perhaps not a White House official per se, but certainly a high administration official.
UPDATE: Andrew McCarthy points out that the same is true for other leaks:
The whole thing is a farce. . . TheTimes tells you who its sources are. At the very beginning of the 6300-word kill-list epic, it says: “In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of [Obama's] current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.” The account goes on to quote, for example, former White House chief-of-staff Bill Daley, who not only confirms the existence of a kill-list but describes the considerations behind adding names to it. Current and former national security officials are quoted, in many instances by name (e.g., national security adviser Thomas Donilon and former national intelligence director Dennis Blair). And when names are not given, the Times quotes, for example, “one participant” in the approximately weekly meetings — videoconferences run by the Pentagon but involving national security officials across the administration — who describes some of the criteria for adding or removing terrorists from the kill-list.
The NYT told us everything except the leakers’ actual names. All of them are high-ranking administration figures. Moreover, Michael Ledeen adds that you can nearly always find the leaker:
“We always found the leaker(s),” he said, “but then nothing happened.” Why? “Because most of the time the leaker was so high-ranking that there was no desire to prosecute or punish.”
Bottom line: if no one is punished (for the leak itself — Ledeen also adds that a scapegoat is often picked who committed some ancillary offense), we know that the President either authorized the leak or chose to let it slide.