Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Leak of top secret Stuxnet program could provide grounds for impeachment

The left-leaning Washington Post explains.

Excerpt:

Imagine if The Post broke a story about the biggest scandal of the Obama-era — and Washington responded with a collective yawn?

That’s precisely what happened recently when The Post reported on its front page that senior Obama administration officials were being investigated by the FBI and Justice Department for the leak last summer that the president had personally ordered cyberattacks on the Iranian nuclear program using a computer virus developed with Israel called Stuxnet.

The Post quotes a source who says that FBI agents and prosecutors are pursuing “everybody — at pretty high levels.” The paper further reports that investigators “have conducted extensive analysis of the e-mail accounts and phone records of current and former government officials” and that some have been confronted “with evidence of contact with journalists.”

This is big. And former senior government lawyers I spoke with recently explained why it could get a whole lot bigger:

The leaks clearly came from someone in the president’s inner circle. As The Post explains, “Knowledge of the virus was likely to have been highly compartmentalized and limited to a small set of Americans and Israelis.” Moreover, whoever leaked the information was present when the president discussed this covert action program in the Situation Room. There is a tiny universe of individuals who could have shared the details of President Obama’s personal deliberations on the covert program with the press.

[...][T]he Stuxnet leak was incredibly damaging. It exposed intelligence sources and methods, including the top secret codename for the program (“Olympic Games”). And it exposed the involvement of a U.S. ally, Israel. At one point in the New York Times story, a source says the Israelis were responsible for an error in the code who allowed it to replicate itself all around the world. The Times directly quotes one of the president’s briefers telling him “We think there was a modification done by the Israelis,” adding that “Mr. Obama, according to officials in the room, asked a series of questions, fearful that the code could do damage outside the plant. The answers came back in hedged terms. Mr. Biden fumed. ‘It’s got to be the Israelis,’ he said. ‘They went too far’” (emphasis added).

So a person who was “in the room” when the president and vice president were briefed publicly confirmed Israeli involvement in a covert action against Iran. The damage this did — both to the operation and the trust between our two countries — is incalculable.

There are no credible national security grounds for such a disclosure. The only person whose interests could possibly be served by such a disclosure was Obama. The leak appeared six months before the president stood for reelection and was clearly intended to make Obama appear strong on foreign policy and counterterrorism. (One anonymous senior official is quoted by the Times as saying “From his first days in office, he was deep into every step in slowing the Iranian program — the diplomacy, the sanctions, every major decision.”)

If the president authorized the disclosure of national security secrets that exposed a covert action and undermined a U.S. ally in an effort to gain a political advantage in his reelection campaign, that would be a scandal of gigantic proportions. As one former top Justice Department official told me “if done for political gain, rather than for a bona fide purpose advancing the public interests of the United States, it could be grounds for impeachment.”

I wouldn’t put it past Obama to leak sensitive data to help his election campaign. If you check the related links below, you’ll see that the Obama administration is just awful at national security.

Related posts

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4 Responses

  1. Will this result in impeachment? I won’t hold my breath.

    But it is remarkable that administration officials would so carelessly disclose secrets so important to American and Israeli security. Lest anyone reading this doubt whether the Washington Post’s reporting against the Obama administration can be trusted, I want everyone to remember that calling the paper “left-leaning” isn’t just some private opinion of conservatives like Wintery Knight or me; it’s the public judgment of an official Washington Post spokesman:

    http://enjoymentandcontemplation.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/washington-post-liberal/

  2. Thea Patriot says:

    I am fairly certain that there are a lot of grounds for the Impeachment of Obama at this point. While I would prefer for the Impeach to begin now, in 2014, a lot of gun owning moderate democrats will vote republican to clean the liberal trash out of the democrat party. Impeachment when the new senate seats itself in 2015 will be EASY.

  3. Adam says:

    Focusing on the leak seems to be missing the bigger story here. The Pentagon has previously stated that it would consider cyberterrorism as an act of war. So by their own definition, the US and Israel have performed an act of war on Iran. Doesn’t that bother you? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576355623135782718.html?mod=e2fb

    • Does it bother you that Iran is killing our troops in Iraq and that they were behind the plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador and that they arm Syria with weapons that are used against our allies?

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