Confidential US intelligence information was leaked to the press last week; and this time, it wasn’t Edward Snowden. The leaks, which showed that the NSA was able to detect a conference call between Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and his affiliates in the Middle East and Africa, came straight from the White House to bolster President Obama’s ‘tough guy’ image.
There are several very good reasons to assume the leaks were intentional. First of all, while the Daily Beast, to whom the story was first leaked, vaguely attributed its information to “three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence”, the number of individuals who would have been cleared for such information is very small, suggesting the leak came from the President’s close advisors.
Second, the leak conveniently serves to justify Obama’s controversial NSA agenda, which, as Edward Snowden revealed, has allowed the federal government to silently spy on millions of Americans without their knowledge or consent. Obama is attempting to use the leaks to show that the NSA’s actions are essential for our national security, that it is his controversial e-mail and phone surveillance that has allowed the CIA to listen in on a conference call with Al Qaeda’s number one operative.
That the story was leaked to the Daily Beast, an undeniably liberal platform that has consistently revealed itself to be in league with the never-ending Obama campaign, is also questionable. By choosing the Daily Beast, the leakers seem to have deliberately intended to give their information to a news organization that they knew would accept the White House version of what happened, rather than ask the tough questions that such revelations raise.
A history of (un)official leaks
Unfortunately for America, this is nowhere near the first time that the Obama administration has ‘accidentally’ let confidential and highly sensitive information somehow slip through its fingers and into the waiting hands of the press. In May 2012, White House staffers released operational details of the previous year’s raid on Bin Laden’s compound in an attempt to boost the President’s ratings right before the November election.
In the same crucial month, Obama officials leaked information to the New York Times that exposed the CIA’s terrorist ‘kill list’, information that turned into an article affirming that the President was tough on terror at the exact same time that the GOP was bashing him for being soft. The idea of an administration leaking information that favors the incumbent President is nothing new, but the problem is the regularity with which these leaks have been occurring under Obama.
The price of publicity
The problem is that, for each White House leak that seeks to boost Obama’s standing in the polls, American lives are put on the line. It doesn’t take a genius to note that U.S. intelligence depends on staying in the shadows, keeping the enemy unaware of our methods. A leak uses the media like a megaphone to broadcast our anti-terrorism techniques to the world, including the terrorists. It is great that our intelligence has managed to infiltrate a conference call between those who wish the United States harm. However, now that Al Qaeda knows this, it is extremely unlikely that Ayman al-Zawahiri will ever pick up the phone again.
It is for this reason that U.S. intelligence veterans such as Fred Fleitz, who has worked to uphold our nation’s security for over 25 years, has claimed that Obama is presiding over the “most irresponsible administration ever”. When we hear about terrorist plots the United States has foiled, it makes us feel safe; but at the same time, we are less safe because of the thoughtless way in which the information has been released. Lest the President forget, his first duty is to the American people and not to his ego. For the safety of our great country, let’s hope he remembers that.
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