Obama’s Double Standard

- July 25, 2012

Immunity For National Security Leaks That Make Obama Look Good, Unprecedented Crackdown For Others


Axelrod Had No Answer For MSNBC's Joe Scarborough On How Classified Information Found Its Way To The Front Pages Of Major Newspapers

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough Pressed Axelrod On Leaks, Saying "It Is Very Obvious The White House Is Leaking Classified Information." MSNBC'S JOE SCARBOROUGH: "But he also criticized the White House for leaking classified national security secrets. The democratic leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, as you know, also accused the White house of leaking classified information. You look at a lot of these stories from the front page of The New York Times, it's obvious somebody in the White House was leaking that information. Can the president guarantee us it wasn't him, first of all, and secondly, these leaks will stop?" OBAMA SENIOR ADVISOR DAVID AXELROD: "First of all, Joe, you know that Senator Feinstein said yesterday that she actually -- actually has no knowledge of where these leaks came from, so she wrote back what she said on Monday. It's also true that authors of the two main books that are in question here, both said the White House was not the source of the leaks." SCARBOROUGH: "They're going to protect their sources but you know there's some front page stories in the New York Times about kill lists, I could list five stories, it is very obvious, it is very obvious the White House is leaking classified information." (MSNBC's " Morning Joe," 7/25/12)

  • Axelrod Could Not Promise That Leaks Would End, And Only Restated Obama's Position "That We Should Not Be Leaking Classified Information." MSNBC'S JOE SCARBOROUGH: "Can the president assure America that his White House will batten down the hatches and stop the release of this classified information that is disturbing not only to men and women in the military, but disturbing to millions of Americans?" OBAMA SENIOR ADVISOR DAVID AXELROD: "Joe, I don't think there's a person on this planet who is more concerned about the security of our troops, the security of people who are working for us around the world to protect us. So absolutely the president's policy is that we should not be leaking classified information." (MSNBC's " Morning Joe," 7/25/12)

The Stories In Question Revealed That Obama's Top Political Advisor Attended High Level National Security Meetings For Purely Political Reasons

After The Failed Christmas Day Bombing, Obama Political Advisor David Axelrod Began Attending the "Terror Tuesday" Meetings As "A Visible Reminder" Of The Consequences A Successful Terrorist Attack Would Have On Obama's Political Agenda. "David Axelrod, the president's closest political adviser, began showing up at the 'Terror Tuesday' meetings, his unspeaking presence a visible reminder of what everyone understood: a successful attack would overwhelm the president's other aspirations and achievements." (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "Secret 'Kill List' Proves A Test Of Obama's Principles And Will," The New York Times, 5/29/12)

  • "Terror Tuesday" Was A Weekly Meeting Of Over 100 National Security Officials To "Nominate" The Next Target From The Terrorist "Kill List." "It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals: Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government's sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects' biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die. This secret 'nominations' process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia's Shabab militia." (Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "Secret 'Kill List' Proves A Test Of Obama's Principles And Will," The New York Times, 5/29/12)

David Axelrod Has Denied Attending Terror Tuesday Meetings. CBS'S BOB SCHIEFFER: "You were mentioned in two new books about foreign policy, in fact the authors of both of those books are coming up later in the show. In one account, it says that you were present at a national security meeting when the President was making decisions on which terrorists we were going to track down and kill." DAVID AXELROD: "That's not true." SCHIEFFER: "You're just simply saying that is not true." AXELROD "I'm flat out asserting that that is not true. There were meetings-I know there were weekly meetings dealing with terrorist threats and planning around it, but I did not attend those meetings." SCHIEFFER: "So because the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who is a Republican, I know is concerned that you were there. But you're just saying flat out…." AXELROD: "Let me allay his concerns, Bob, because that's not true." (CBS's "Face The Nation," 6/3/12)


Obama Has Charged Six Whistleblowers Under The Espionage Act, More Than All Previous Presidents Combined." "As it turns out, Obama has been the most aggressive President ever in going after leakers of classified information, charging six whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous Presidents combined." (Massimo Calabresi, "Declassification Effort Lacks Transparency,"Time, 7/12/12)

"The Majority Of The Recent Prosecutions Seem To Have Everything To Do With Administrative Secrecy And Very Little To Do With National Security." "Setting aside the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst who is accused of stealing thousands of secret documents, the majority of the recent prosecutions seem to have everything to do with administrative secrecy and very little to do with national security." (David Carr, "Blurred Line Between Espionage And Truth," The New York Times , 2/26/12)

  • "The Justice Department Has Opened Six Criminal Leak Cases Under The Obama Administration, Two Of Them Involving An Ex-CIA Officer And The New York Times." (Peter Yost, "Justice Dept. Gets 'Award' For Worst Secrecy Work," The Associated Press, 2/14/12)
  • "Punishing Leakers Seems To Have Become A Higher Priority" Than The Leaking Itself. "Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller declined to comment on whether the Obama administration is taking a tougher line against leakers, but said 'we take the leaking of classified information very seriously.' However, court documents indicate that punishing leakers seems to have become a higher priority." (Josh Gerstein, "Despite Openness Pledge, President Obama Pursues Leakers," Politico, 3/7/11)

The Obama Administration "Has Been More Prone Than Any Administration In History In Trying To Silence And Prosecute Federal Workers." "The Obama administration, which promised during its transition to power that it would enhance 'whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers,' has been more prone than any administration in history in trying to silence and prosecute federal workers." (David Carr, "Blurred Line Between Espionage And Truth," The New York Times , 2/26/12)

  • The Washington Post : "White House Making Whistleblower Advocates Nervous." (Joe Davidson, "White House Making Whistleblower Advocates Nervous," The Washington Post, 3/14/12)


"For More Than A Year, The Obama Administration Has Been Doling Out Information About The Bin Laden Raid, Drone Attacks Obama Ordered, And Other Tough-Sounding Anecdotes In A Successful Effort To Bolster The President's Reputation On National Security." "For more than a year, the Obama administration has been doling out information about the bin Laden raid, drone attacks Obama ordered and other tough-sounding anecdotes in a successful effort to bolster the president's reputation on national security. Hollywood filmmakers got special access at the Pentagon and the CIA. And just in time for the raid's 1st anniversary, papers from bin Laden's hideout were declassified and released. That could be viewed as an admirable act of transparency. But it has a slightly different cast after the administration doled out the records first to a favored columnist, the Washington Post's David Ignatius, and wouldn't immediately share them with everyone." (Josh Gerstein, Leak Fever Hits D.C.," Politico, 6/13/12)

  • Huffington Post 's Sam Stein Called Obama's Bin Laden Leak "Hypocritical" Because His Administration Has Made A Point Of Cracking Down On Leakers. HUFFINGTON POST'S SAM STEIN: "I think it's fair the administration can control whatever type of information they want to release to whoever they want to release it. I think it's also kind of lame, too, to be honest with you. I think, you know, giving it to a Hollywood producer for the purposes of packaging it in some sort of glorified theater is like -- it just strikes me as like a little bit too cute by half. And also it would be nice, we were talking about this off set, this administration has been very tough on journalists. They've cracked on leakers. They've been tougher in more respects than Bush, I believe. For them to then turn around and do, I just feel this is hypocritical." (MSNBC's " NOW," 5/24/12)
  • The New York Times ' Nicholas Confessore: "If you had seen a S.E.A.L. operator leak details of the operation to a reporter from The New York Times, I'd have to imagine we'd be seeing a prosecution, not e-mails." (MSNBC's " NOW," 5/24/12)

Obama Has Denied Any Involvement In The Leaks, But Refuses To Appoint A Special Counsel To Conduct An Independent Investigation

One Month After Obama Detailed The Osama Bin Laden Raid With NBC's Brian Williams In The Situation Room, He Said It Was "Offensive" To Accuse His Administration Of Leaking National Security Leaks For Political Gain. "In a town that revels in hypocrisy, the White House has had its share as well. At his press conference last week, Obama said it is 'offensive' to suggest that his administration would leak national security secrets for political reasons. But just a month ago, he was doing an extraordinarily rare TV interview in the Situation Room, giving NBC's Brian Williams the lowdown on how the Osama bin Laden operation was planned and monitored from the White House." (Josh Gerstein, Leak Fever Hits D.C.," Politico, 6/13/12)

  • Obama: "The Notion That My White House Would Purposely Release Classified National Security Information Is Offensive." OBAMA: "The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong. And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office." (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

Obama Campaign Adviser David Axelrod Did Not Deny "That The Stories That Have Been Written Have Been Helpful To The President," But Said "We're Not The Source Of Those Stories." OBAMA ADVISER DAVID AXELROD: "I say that's nonsense. This administration has no interest in leaking classified information. We don't want to see it leaked from Capitol Hill and we don't want to see it leaked from the administration. It's not helpful. The fact is there are leaks and sometimes we're confronted with those leaks and we're asked about those leaks. That's a different situation, but I wholly discount that." CNN'S WOLF BLITZER: "You totally reject this notion that there have been these authorized leaks of classified information in order to help bolster the president's chances to make him look strong?" AXELROD: "The intimation is that the story is helpful to the president." BLITZER: "Which story is that?" AXELROD: "That the stories that have been written have been helpful to the president. I'll let other people judge that, but we're not the source of those stories." (CNN's "Situation Room," 6/7/12)

WH Spokesman Jay Carney Said A Special Counsel Investigation Was Not Necessary Because "This Administration Takes The Leaking Of Classified And Sensitive Information Very Seriously." WH SPOKESMAN CARNEY: "I think I gave a response to this the other day in terms of the call by some for taking that action. We don't believe that's necessary. This administration takes the leaking of classified and sensitive information very seriously. The President spoke to that himself in the briefing room here just last Friday; made very clear his views on the matter. And as for the investigation that is underway, that's a DOJ operation and I would refer you to them for details." (Jay Carney, Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 6/13/12)

This From The Candidate Who Promised To Remove Politics From Foreign Policy And Promote Oversight And Transparency In Government

Obama Campaign In 2008: "Barack Obama Will Bring The American People Together Around Our Foreign Policy And Get Politics Out Of Intelligence." "Too often he politicized intelligence and shut out the peoples' representatives. Barack Obama will bring the American people together around our foreign policy and get politics out of intelligence." (Obama For America, "Challenging Washington To Seek A New Beginning," 10/2/07)

  • Obama In 2006: "[I]n Fact A Lot Of The Problems That Have Arisen In Terms Of Leaks And So Forth Have To Do With Just The Extraordinary Unwillingness Of The President And This Administration To Commit Itself To Any Kind Of Oversight, From Anybody." SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: "You know, so everybody has got an ax to grind when it comes to the press. My attitude is, let the press do its job and that, you know, in fact a lot of the problems that have arisen in terms of leaks and so forth have to do with just the extraordinary unwillingness of the president and this administration to commit itself to any kind of oversight, from anybody. I mean, it's not just that they don't want the New York Times leaking stories about their activities. They also don't want to share it with Congress. They don't want to share it with the Senate Intelligence Committee. They don't want to share it with the foreign intelligence court that has been set up to evaluate these issues. I mean, there is this sense -- and by the way, I think conservatives should be just as concerned as liberals, because this notion of secrecy is a fundamental violation of that most conservative principle of the United States, which is nobody is above the law." (Fox News's "Hannity & Colmes," 6/28/06)

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