A bipartisan statement released by the top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Select Committee on Intelligence summed up the damage quite succinctly: “These disclosures have seriously interfered with ongoing intelligence programs and have put at jeopardy our intelligence capability to act in the future,” they wrote. “Each disclosure puts American lives at risk, makes it more difficult to recruit assets, strains the trust of our partners, and threatens imminent and irreparable damage to our national security in the face of urgent and rapidly adapting threats worldwide.”
Those comments were amplified by others. National Intelligence Director James Clapper characterized the leaks as the worst he has seen in his 30 year intelligence career. Sen. Feinstein noted that she had “been on the Intelligence Committee for 11 years, and I have never seen it worse.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) called the leaks “probably the most damaging” in this country’s history, further contending that someone is “going to lose their life. We’re going to have operations that will cease. We’ll have lost opportunities. All those things are going to happen.”
Regarding the demands for a special prosecutor, the Washington Post’s Marc A. Thiessen reveals why one is necessary. One of the attorneys appointed to investigate the leaks is Ronald Machen “who gave thousands of dollars to Obama’s first senate race and his presidential campaign, helped vet candidates for the vice presidential nomination, and called Obama a ‘legend’ in a 2010 Post profile.” Furthermore, both Machen and Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland who is also assigned to the investigation, report to Eric Holder, who has been cited for contempt of Congress. Thus, the likelihood of a politically unbiased investigation is virtually nil.
The NY Post’s Michael Goodwin, who believes the investigation “smells like a fix,” further notes that the case “is not an open-ended whodunit. The motives are obvious and the potential suspects well known.” He explains that White House logs reflect who attended the various meetings where secret information was discussed. “Real prosecutors would put everybody under oath, before a grand jury, and ask away,” he contends. Goodwin also makes a telling observation. “Most important, nobody in the White House expressed an iota of outrage that so much classified material had been disclosed. It was only after public criticism that Obama felt compelled to say something,” he wrote in June, when the leaks were beginning to reach critical mass.
Financial Times columnist Edward Luce reveals the common theme behind the leaks. “In each case, the leaks presented Mr Obama as a tough but conscientious warrior who pulls the trigger frequently but reluctantly,” he writes. Peter King (R-NY), GOP chairman of the House homeland security panel agrees with that assessment, contending the president is using the leaks to “build up his reputation” before November.
Yet one thing that won’t be happening before November is any kind of resolution regarding these serious compromises of America’s national security. If there is one thing the public has already learned as a result of the Fast and Furious debacle it is that the DOJ is both capable and willing to stall any investigation that could potentially damage President Obama prior to the November election. Even a contempt of Congress citation for Attorney General Eric Holder has failed to move the needle on the 18-month investigation of guns being walked into Mexico. The deliberate slow-walking of the leak investigation will be just as obvious and just as unstoppable.
Thus, it behooves Mitt Romney to turn both the leaks and the investigation into a campaign issue. If he frames the issue properly, nothing is remotely defensible by the Obama administration or its media surrogates, other than to insist the president was an innocent victim of over-eager officials in his administration attempting to burnish the president’s terror-fighting credentials. That such over-eagerness has endangered the entire nation in the process, even as the investigation of the leaks languishes? Mitt Romney needs to continually reiterate the question posed by GOP senators demanding a special prosecutor back in June: Where is the outrage?
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