Leakgate: Obama's Unspinnable Scandal
Posted 06:45 PM ET
National Security: Even getting the Joint Chiefs chairman to admonish the ex-Navy SEALs who are condemning White House leaks won't extinguish Obama's
Leak-gate scandal. These heroes are dead right.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was traditionally the military's principal adviser to the president. This changed with George H.W. Bush's appointment of Colin Powell.
The New York Times reported in August 1989 that "General Powell's selection could stir some resentment at the Pentagon," since he was "chosen over more than 30 other four-star generals." Congressional aides extolled his ability to defeat Pentagon spending plans.
So for the last quarter-century the Joint Chiefs chairman has represented the president to the military, not the other way around.
That's apparent in Gen. Martin Dempsey's attack this week on the ex-Navy SEALs and retired spies who accuse Obama of leaking sensitive intelligence to make himself appear hawkish in fighting terrorism.
Dempsey said the military remaining "apolitical" is "how we maintain our bond and trust with the American people." But it's President Obama who politicized that bond. The self-named OPSEC ("operations security") objectors, through a YouTube short film, "Dishonorable Disclosure," are simply telling the truth.
They argue the White House's disclosure of an Obama drone "kill list"; Obama's immediate announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden, when delaying might have led to more kills based on intelligence we gathered; and the administration's revealing that the successful Stuxnet computer worm, which crippled Iran's nuclear program, was a joint Israeli-U.S. project, have imperiled lives and damaged the war on terror.
Ex-SEALs Scott Taylor and Ben Smith and the others in OPSEC point out that even Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, a liberal Democrat, has repeatedly expressed outrage at these politicized White House leaks.
And they resent Obama taking personal credit for the killing of Bin Laden when Americans wearing the uniform — and CIA and other intelligence gatherers — were the ones who actually did the job.
Add to this the publication this week of the book "No Easy Day," a firsthand account of the Bin Laden raid by a retired chief of SEAL Team 6 and Obama's attempts to play the hawk, may be very tattered by Election Day.