Friday, June 8, 2012

Corrupt Obama Administration Tactics to build up Barack's Image is Blowing Back Big Time....and on a BiPartisan Basis.....

Once Helpful, National Security Leaks Becoming a Hazard for Obama Re-Election

By Chris Stirewalt Published June 08, 2012

“This has to stop. When people say they don't want to work with the United States because they can't trust us to keep a secret, that's serious.”

-- Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., at a press conference lamenting a cascade of national security leaks.

The brightest spot for President Obama with voters is on foreign policy. But the effort to maximize his advantage by aggressively highlighting his record may now be working against the president.

The immediate concern for the president is having members of his own party make a veiled accusation of politically motivated leaking against his national security team. That looks bad and may spur an investigation that dredges up even more.

In the latest FOX News poll, Obama is tied with Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a head-to-head matchup and trailing Romney on the top issues of the election, the economy, job creation and government spending.

But Obama stood tall on national security issues. Obama bested Romney by 11 points on handling of foreign policy and 13 points on dealing with terrorism.

Part of this is a result of voter support for two major developments in Obama’s term – the final withdrawal from Iraq and the killing of Usama bin Laden. It also stems from the fact that Romney has no foreign-policy resume to speak of while Obama has had more than three-years of on-the-job training.

But part of the advantage comes from the fact that Team Obama has been very aggressive about depicting the president as a steely-eyed killer of terrorists.

Consider the April anniversary of the bin Laden raid, not only did Obama do the expected in taking a victory lap – he went further, popping into Afghanistan for a speech commemorating the event, inviting NBC News to the previously verboten Situation Room and, most remarkably, using the occasion to attack Romney, whom Obama’s campaign said lacked the courage Obama showed in ordering Navy SEALs to kill bin Laden.

Republicans may gripe that it’s tacky and un-presidential, but the polls suggest that Obama’s end-zone dance on bin Laden was brash enough to cut through the media clutter. For a president who started his term clashing with a bipartisan coalition in Congress over civilian trials for foreign terrorists, his current advantage over Romney on such subjects is evidence that his audacious media strategy worked.

But, the Obama organization always has a problem with excess. And on national security, they have really gone over the top.

Dating back to the killing of bin Laden, the administration’s intelligence apparatus has been leaking like a sieve and always on stories that cast Obama as a kind of warrior king.

Rather than a wry wink when the news came that bin Laden was dead, Obama went for a massive data download, briefing and leaking and even giving high-level access to movie makers.

Critics say that all of that splurping not only exposed long-secret military practices but also may have exposed the very Pakistanis who helped American forces find and kill the man behind 9/11.

As the general election season as accelerated (and not in a positive direction for the president) so too have the leaks about his involvement in killing baddies accelerated.

In consecutive weeks, the New York Times produced stories about Obama’s tough tactics on terror sourced from high-level officials in the administration.

One week it was all about Obama’s “kill list” and how the president personally decide which individuals, including U.S. citizens abroad, should be killed by his aggressive drone program.

The next week, it was all about how Obama had personally intervened to push for a cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons program even when others warned of risks. The story that emerged from all three leaks – bin Laden, “kill list,” and the nuclear virus – was that of Obama the intrepid.

That was all too much for the intelligence community, one of the few bastions of bipartisanship in Washington. There is an expectation that presidents will try to capitalize on the success of covert operations, but seeing so much, for so long finally prompted a snapback.

When Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, calls you out in public, that’s some serious snapback.

Glory hogging is part of the game, but only up to a point. If the spooks and their friends in Congress think that someone is putting agents or operations in danger they have ways of responding.

If someone can leak stories about the president reflecting on Thomas Aquinas’ theory of just warfare before coolly ordering the death of a terrorist in Yemen, someone else can leak a story about executive actions that didn’t go so well. Resentful spies might start coughing up information to counteract the president’s preferred narrative.

The immediate concern for the president is having members of his own party make a veiled accusation of politically motivated leaking against his national security team. That looks bad and may spur an investigation that dredges up even more.

By using such aggressive tactics to burnish the president’s image with the bin Laden killing, Team Obama has undercut the president’s ability to defend himself against the charge of reckless leaking. For the Obama organization, this is a persistent problem: allowing a desire for short-term gain to trump long-term strategy.

Congress calls for special prosecutor, gets visit from Mueller, Clapper over security leaks

Published June 08, 2012

The growing, bipartisan concern in Congress about national security leaks that appear linked to the Obama administration brought two of the country’s top intelligence officials Thursday to Capitol Hill --where they were told the once-secret information his now endangering the lives of Americans across the world.

“It’s outrageous that the White House would allow these ongoing alleged disclosures to jeopardize the safety of our intelligence professionals and the well-being of the American people,” GOP Sen. Roy Blunt said after a meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The meeting with Blunt and other members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence marks the first visit by administration officials to Capitol Hill, following a series of stories by the New York Times that detailed cyber-attacks on Iran’s nuclear program, the working of U.S. drone attacks in the Middle East and the human “hit list” -- culled personally by President Obama.

However, the CIA and the Justice Department's national security division have said they will not cooperate.

Blunt is just the latest in a growing list of congressional lawmakers and committee leaders drafting legislation, demanding hearings and in some cases a special prosecutor to investigate the leaks.

“I fully support moving forward with a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation immediately so that we can hold the appropriate people accountable,” Blunt said.

Among those now calling for investigations are Sens. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate intelligence committee, as well as Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md. chairman and ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

The leaders said Thursday they were drafting legislation to further limit who can access highly classified information and possibly impose new penalties for revealing it.

“The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable,” they also said in a joint statement. “These disclosures have seriously interfered with ongoing intelligence programs and have put at jeopardy our intelligence capability to act in the future.”

They also said the disclosures put American lives at risk, make it more difficult to recruit assets and strain the trust of U.S. partners.

Though the recent New York Times stories have garnered the most attention, lawmakers have suggested an Associated Press story last month about an Al Qaeda plot to detonate an explosive device aboard a U.S.-bound flight was perhaps more damaging.

"It certainly jeopardizes our ability to relate to other countries, for other countries to help us," Feinstein said on "Fox News Sunday." "The leak really did endanger sources and methods. And the leak, I think, has to be prosecuted."

Feinstein said Thursday her understanding after meeting with Muller and Clapper is that a U.S. attorney based in Washington also is looking into the leaks.

The Associated Press reportedly held the story for days, at the requested of the CIA and White House, which appears to validate the administration saying it is not the source of the leaks.

“This administration takes all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks of classified information or sensitive information that could risk ongoing counter terrorism or intelligence operations,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said earlier this week. “Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible,” he said.

GOP Sen. John McCain, among the first to raise concerns and suggest the leaks are to puff up the president’s profile on national security, remains skeptical.

“What is grossly irresponsible is U.S. officials divulging some of the most highly classified programs involving the most important national security priorities facing our nation today,” he said.

The New York Time has defended it reporting, with managing editor Dean Baquet telling Huffington Post, “It’s our job.”

"Both the rise and use of drones, and the increased use of cyberwarfare, are the kinds of issues that we have a public service mission to surface so they can be part of a national debate," he said Thursday.

No comments:

Post a Comment