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View Diary: The AP Phone Records, the Press, and the Devil's Bargain (45 comments)

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  •  We had an agent in Al Qaida in Yemen! (0+ / 0-)

    Through someone in the government or an associated contractor, the AP found out about the bomb plot and was going to release a story about it. If they did, it would have compromised our agent within AQIY and his family. The administration asked for 5 days to get the agent and his family out of Yemen and then ok'd the story for release.

    The quibbling about Brennan and breaking the story at the last minute is a sideshow. What's important is that someone in our government was willing to leak information that could have gotten an embedded iagent and his family killed, and that deprived us of an asset of huge value.

    Is it not the responsibility of the Administration to find out who leaked this extremely sensitive story to AP? If you have a leaker who is willing to compromise an operation of such importance and sensitivity, isn't his/her action tantamount to treason?

    It will be a very long time, if ever, before we have an agent inserted into Al Qaida again. This one was lost because AP just had to break a story, even when they were told it would do incredible damage. And if you read the story, it's a gotcha thing, trying to show up the administration for saying there were no active plots at the time of the anniversary of OBL's killing.

    I'm sorry, but I have no sympathy for AP. First Amendment rights don't often have to yield to national security interests, but in this case they needed to.  


    •  If you had looked at the link to Digby.... (0+ / 0-)

      The leaker is known. Digby picked it up from this Reuters report, part of the long term tracking Marcy Wheeler has been doing on news about this.

      WASHINGTON | Fri May 18, 2012 12:46pm EDT
      (Reuters) - White House efforts to soft-pedal the danger from a new "underwear bomb" plot emanating from Yemen may have inadvertently broken the news they needed most to contain.

      At about 5:45 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 7, just before the evening newscasts, John Brennan, President Barack Obama's top White House adviser on counter-terrorism, held a small, private teleconference to brief former counter-terrorism advisers who have become frequent commentators on TV news shows.

      According to five people familiar with the call, Brennan stressed that the plot was never a threat to the U.S. public or air safety because Washington had "inside control" over it.

      Brennan's comment appears unintentionally to have helped lead to disclosure of the secret at the heart of a joint U.S.-British-Saudi undercover counter-terrorism operation.

      A few minutes after Brennan's teleconference, on ABC's World News Tonight, Richard Clarke, former chief of counter-terrorism in the Clinton White House and a participant on the Brennan call, said the underwear bomb plot "never came close because they had insider information, insider control."

      emphasis added

      In other words, Brennan is the one who revealed the existence of an inside agent - who apparently was the work of British intelligence. The Reuter's article goes on to explain what followed. The AP appears to have been targeted by the White House to scapegoat them for the leak. So, on top of the first amendment issues, we also have an intelligence (in both senses of the word) failure on the part of the administration.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sun May 19, 2013 at 07:19:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read Digby (0+ / 0-)

        The leaker is not known; if he/she were known, there would have been no need to seize AP's phone records.

        By the time Brennan spoke, the agent and his family had already been removed from Yemen. Knowing that AP was going publish its story, Brennan tried to provide reassurance that the threat had been destined to go nowhere.

        If AP had published its story when it wanted to, it would have been immediately apparent to AQIY that the person who was going to carry the bomb was a double agent. There would have been no need to spell it out.

        Nothing that Digby or you says changes the fact that the AP's determination to "show up" the administration led to the loss of an agent within AQIY. Nor does it alter the fact that there was someone on our side willing to betray his or her country.

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