On June 8, President Barack Obama responded to allegations that his White House had leaked classified national security information, including information about ongoing cyber warfare against Iran. The president said that “The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive,” adding that “It’s wrong” to suggest the leaks came from the White House. Two days later, political adviser David Axelrod told ABC’s George Stephanopolous “I can’t say that there weren’t leaks. There were obvious leaks, but they weren’t from the White House.”
Now the Obama White House has a new accuser: Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. On Monday, The Hill reports that Feinstein said “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.” Feinstein added that she does not believe the president himself leaked, but that some of his administration officials are the sources of the leaks.
The leaks, mostly to the New York Times, covered the president’s “kill list” of suspected terrorists, the cyber warfare against Iran, and other sensitive information. Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two US attorneys to probe the leaks, but there has been little movement in the investigations despite the fact that some leads to the leakers are obvious. Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers deliberately leaked classified information about SEAL Team 6 to Hollywood producers who are producing a movie about the team’s successful killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. That movie’s release was originally scheduled for October, just weeks before the presidential election, but has been postponed. No action has been taken against Vickers. The information and access shown in the New York Times story about the president’s kill list strongly suggests that national security adviser Thomas Donilon, or someone very close to him, is among the sources for that story. The Times’ article about US cyber war efforts against Iran suggests that its sources are administration officials who would be included in high level situation room discussions about sensitive national security matters, along with high level Israeli officials.
Donilon is in Beijing this week for security talks and to discuss the ongoing Syrian civil war with the Chinese government.
Update: Here is video of Sen. Feinstein’s remarks, plus President Obama’s adamant “offensive” denial that the leaks came from “my White House.”
Update: DiFi has backtracked.