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Secrets To Keep

June 18, 2012

In my line of business, I have to keep a variety of secrets.  I know enough about the future of my company’s product lines that I could risk significant amounts of exposure with things that I believe are everyday knowledge.  Just the other day, I mentioned something to one of the product teams about their own product that caused them great concern, since they didn’t know it had gone outside their organizational walls.

Knowing who’s in the loop and not is a key part to making a business, or a government, run smoothly.  Specifically going outside the circle is pretty obvious, though.  For instance, telling a reporter from PC Magazine or something would be pretty dumb.

So a couple comments from John Fund’s NRO post made me take notice.

The leaks — mostly revealed in New York Times reporter David Sanger’s new book Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power — open up the whole gamut of U.S. secret operations. That includes the Navy Seals raid to kill bin Laden, missions in Pakistan, a Yemeni double agent, the Predator drone protocols, the cyberwar against Iraq, and covert operations in Africa.

Senator Feinstein said her heart has stopped at points during her reading of the Sanger book. She’s only halfway through it, but told San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders last week: “You learn more from the book than I did as chairman of the intelligence committee, and that’s very disturbing to me.”

When the chair of a congressional Intelligence Committee gets taken aback, I perk right up.  In simpler times, this would probably end with a bunch of people in serious blue suits inviting a few key people over for some polite questions in an effort to uncover where leaks like this are originating.  In this administration, it appears more like a bunch of hipsters who left their jackets in the office are scrambling around to minimize the exposure to their candidate.  I’m not accusing the administration of a deliberate cover-up.  However, I am accusing the administration of being more concerned with the optics than the truth.

Many of the recent strategy moves by the White House have been aimed at bolstering the base for the upcoming elections while also attempting to improve the image of the president for swing voters.  I can understand the political strategy, but it troubles me that self comes before country in a political job that’s all about the security of the country.  That strikes me as elevation of the person over the office, and any person that puts self ahead of responsibility makes me leery.

I think there’s a lot more to hear on the security leaks coming out, as well as on some of the other new revelations of the administration around immigration, redefinition of marriage, and the like.  The strategic implications are pretty key to the election, but the personal revelations about the people in the office are more intriguing… and perhaps more concerning.

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