Friday, May 17, 2013

Back to the Leak

The revelation that Eric Holder's deputy Quick Draw McGraw subpoenaed dozens of phone records from AP journalists over a leak investigation has caused outrage on top of the current outrage.

But is this another Obama outrage?   Maybe, maybe not.   One must go back to the original story and employ some critical thinking before determining whether the former is a reasonable line of speculation. 

It was May 2012 and America had just passed the first anniversary of the UBL killing with vague assurances from the administration that no terror plots were in the works. On the political side the GOP primaries were in full stride.  Meanwhile UK's MI6, in coordination with the Saudi Arabian spy agency, had successfully inserted a spy (whom the media called a 'double agent') into AQAP's inner core and he had managed to break up another package bomb plot with the help of CIA and US authorities.  The Obama folks were filled with glee at the coming announcement of a major bust and how it would act to mute GOP criticism that Democrats are soft on terror.

Then suddenly they learned that someone had leaked the news of the bust to the AP, five days ahead of the planned announcement.   When the AP contacted the White House they were asked to stand down--at first due to national security loose ends then finally due to not undercutting them on the announcement, ie, politics. When the two friends couldn't decide how to handle it the AP backed out and went with their scoop on the Monday ahead of the planned announcement.  The White House broke their story the next day complete with pictures of the device. 

As the story broke other reporters went to the terrorism experts in the administration and outside for comment.  Questions began to be asked about why the administration had just said there were no active terror threats when the AP had just published a story about one.  John Brennan, then an advisor to the president, convened a conference call to provide talking points to the various experts who would be appearing on TV, supposedly to inform them we had 'inside coutrol' over the plot, so chill.  In other words, we were running a spy. 

Except we weren't running him, the Saudis and Brits were, who were now royally pissed as the agent evidently ran for cover since his own was now blown.

Nevertheless it's hard to understand how that leak was the worst Eric Holder had seen in 30 years since the White House forced the AP to wait until they had security concerns alleviated before they went to press.  Where was the harm?  Surely he doesn't mean Brennan's revelation about the spy not being a suicide bomber, otherwise he would have been gone long ago.

There were also leaks shortly thereafter about the Iran computer worm to the NY Times.  Holder's investigation was announced shortly thereafter using two US Attorneys (one for Stuxnet, one for Yemen) and the story disappeared off the radar until this past Friday--the same Friday the Benghazi story finally blew up in the White House press room.  

The questions are many but let's start with who leaked, why, and why it took so long--past the election--to track anything down.  Who had the motive to leak?   Well, since the official story says the administration was ticked at the leak because it spoiled their announcement that seems to take them off the hook.  Why would an admin official pee in their own Cheerios?    If that actually occurred one would think the administration would have given up such an individual to the FBI posse long ago.

What about somebody in the military-intelligence apparatus?   Well, we don't know the location of all the call traces but reports do not show them focused on Langley or the Pentagon.

Politicians?   Seems to be the most likely bet seeing as how most of the traces have involved the Congress.   So if it was a politician, which side?   Would a GOP congressman/woman want to leak a big terror bust to the AP?   Wouldn't that just help Obama?   Unless such a person, in the know about the plot, was reacting to the administration's public comments about no plots being in the works on the anniversary of 9/11 and wanted to speak truth to power.  So it's entirely possible.  But how many GOP congresspeople would trust the AP?  Seems they would leak to Fox but maybe they felt it would be more believable coming from AP.  Certainly the AP knows.    

But if not a GOP person trying to undermine Obama that leaves a Democrat source.  One might imagine an overzealous loyalist thrilled up their legs with the accomplishment but not on the official email list as to how the festivities would be going.

But there are problems with that theory.  One, not just anyone has the high level clearance required to know about the plot, which narrows down the field considerably unless a person who had a need to know spilled the story to someone who didn't, who couldn't wait and ran to AP with it.

Initial stories reported the following:
The CIA mission was such a secret, even top lawmakers were not told about it as the operation unfolded, one U.S. official said Monday.
That seems to eliminate most congresspeople but at the same time it doesn't specify at what point they were finally notified.  The AP leak was fairly late in the game.  It does however suggest only a handful would have known and one would think they've already been investigated by now.

No doubt the FBI has already traveled down these roads a few times but whatever happened left them so empty they took the draconian step of going outside the guidelines and throwing out a massive press phone dragnet, knowing they would have to tell the AP--and America--in 90 days.  Did they think the dragnet would produce a quick suspect so no problema on the notification?

One alternate theory is it was a high level Obama official all along, the Justice Dept knows this, and they are stringing people along to justify the huge media dragnet as a way to threaten and scare journalists to remain on the reservation for the benefit of future scandals. Of course there's no evidence so that's a WAG, but judging by the IRS and Benghazi stories these folks aren't averse to using cover stories.

So we await the next shoe drop.   As this is being typed the AP knows who leaked to them; the NY Times knows who leaked to them; and the leaker(s) knows.   We have to presume the FBI and administration still doesn't know but maybe they do and are waiting for the right time to spring it.  It's going to be a bombshell whoever it is, but on the record here for a moment--if it was a GOP partisan who leaked to push back against what he/she thought was an Obama lie about the terror threat on the anniversary of UBL's takedown then they deserve everything they get.  

MORE  5/18/13

Right Truth has a link to Mark Levin's reaction to a Washington Post story regards the DOJ's dragnet of AP.  Levin connects the dots that WaPo won't and concludes this recent announcement about trolling the AP's phone records is just simple revenge over their scooping the administration on the big Yemen terror bust announcement during the campaign season.  

If so then the recent announcement could serve as a de facto calling in of a chit, ie, if they don't want more then start going easy on us with these recent scandals.   Wow, that would be just as bad as using the IRS to intimidate and derail the Tea Party, but it would be the Chicago Way.  

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