The PJ Tatler

Congressmen to Obama, Holder: Plug Leaks to Media About Israeli Strategy

Twenty-one members of the House have asked President Obama to probe reported national security leaks that could compromise American and Israeli defense planning.

On March 19, The New York Times reported the name, scenarios, and conclusions of a classified war simulation recently conducted by United States Central Command (CENTCOM) to analyze an Israeli military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. The article included detailed information provided by U.S. officials who took part in the simulation or were later briefed on the results.

On March 28, Foreign Policy magazine reported that Israel had been granted secret access to airbases in Azerbaijan near Iran’s northern border which would be used to launch air or drone-based strikes, and search and rescue aircraft in the event of an Israeli military operation against Iran. The Foreign Policy article quoted “high-level sources… inside the U.S. government,” and specifically quoted “a senior administration official” and “a military intelligence officer engaged in assessing the ramifications of a prospective Israeli attack.”

The letter, helmed by Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.), is cc’d to Attorney General Eric Holder, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and CIA Director David Petraeus.

“Whether the leaks are intentional or not, they weaken U.S. and Israeli national security, strengthen Iran’s defensive posture, and put American and Israeli lives at risk,” the congressmen wrote. “These leaks not only violate U.S. law, but they send a chilling message to our allies around the world.”

“As you have said on multiple occasions, Israel has the right to defend itself,” they added. “Therefore, we believe you must make prosecution a top priority and hold accountable those who are in violation of U.S. law, thus putting at risk U.S. and Israeli national security.”