A new advertisement created by U.S. military veterans, working under the auspices of the Special Ops Opsec Education Fund, are blasting the leak of classified information, possibly from the White House itself.
“We are here to speak out against the release of national security secrets,” says Scott Taylor, a retired Navy SEAL.
Adds Lt. Col. Bill Cowan, United States Marine Corps: “Mr. President, to you and those close to you who hold some of the nation’s highest secrets. Please be quiet about it.”
The organization says its goal is to stop politicians, President Obama and others “from politically capitalizing on U.S. national security operations and secrets.”
King said the leaks imperil future missions.
Then, this spring, there were more leaks about intelligence penetration of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, drone strikes and cyber ops against Iran’s nuclear program, King said.
“Ongoing FBI investigations have failed to deter further leaks. This is because White House staff is not currently subject to the same scrutiny that intelligence professionals are, such as polygraphs and monitoring of access to classified information,” he wrote.
“Also, the president can retroactively claim to have declassified information leaked by his staff,” he noted.
King said the White House points to other possible leakers, “but the leaks clearly come from the Oval Office and Situation Room.”
“Their obvious intent is to aid the president’s re-election,” the congressman said. “As Sen. Feinstein said, ‘The White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.’”
Cowan said that the Obama administration, “in my judgment, unfortunately, put out a lot of the information that we’re going to suffer repercussions for.”
Retired CIA operative Fred Rustmann said, “I don’t see why anybody … would purposely put lives in jeopardy.”
The Obama administration has claimed it is unconnected to the release of any sensitive information.
Using a column from CNN’s Peter Bergen, the “truth team” at BarackObama.com defended the president.
Bergen’s column said the claims that the White House orchestrated leaks “bear some resemblance to the ‘Swift Boat’ tactics used against Sen. John Kerry in the tight 2004 presidential election against President George W. Bush.”
He described the allegations against the president as: announcing the bin Laden raid before intelligence from that operation could be exploited fully, publicizing the use of a secret “stealth” helicopter, revealing that SEAL Team Six was involved and revealing the name of a Pakistani doctor recruited to help locate bin Laden.
Said Bergen: “I have written a book about the hunt for bin Laden during the course of which I was the only journalist granted access by the Pakistanis inside the compound in Abbottabad where bin Laden was killed. I also spoke on the record about the hunt for bin Laden with a variety of current White House, Pentagon and intelligence officials, as well as former Defense Department and CIA officials familiar with aspects of the story.
“None of them divulged classified information about the bin Laden operation. Indeed, they went to great pains to avoid doing so,” he said.
Bergen blamed Pakistani officials – as well as the crash of a helicopter – for pushing up the release of information about the raid.
He continued: “It is just plain wrong that anyone in the U.S. government leaked the name of the CIA asset in Pakistan, Dr Shakil Afridi, who was recruited by the agency in its quest to find bin Laden. This information first surfaced in a story in the Guardian newspaper in July 2011 after Afridi was arrested by the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI. It is obvious that this information was leaked not by the Americans but the Pakistanis who have done their own investigation of the bin Laden raid, which embarrassed them considerably.”
U.S. News reported a senior Obama aide demanded that anyone at the White House with knowledge of the leaks to step forward.
The challenge came from John Brennan, a counter-terrorism official.
He said should any leakers be identified, “The president has made clear that leaks should be prosecuted.”
But the ad presents a collage of TV news reports of claims that the information was being released by the White House for political gain.
“Stop the leaks,” the ad pleads.