If the Administration were really serious about showing that it has not engaged in leaks of high-level classified information for political gain, Attorney General Holder would not make such obtuse statements like:
I was getting hammered by the left for that [bringing more leaks cases than any other administration] only two weeks ago, and now I'm getting hammered by the right for potentially not going after leaks. It makes for an interesting dynamic.I'll give Holder the benefit of the doubt for being smart enough to know how intellectually dishonest such a statement is.
But in case he is truly confused, I will explain below.
With due respect General Holder, you were getting hammered by the left for bringing more "leak" prosecutions than all previous administrations combined, using the heavy-handed Espionage Act to go after people who, more often than not, are whistleblowers.
What you are getting hammered for now by both Democrats and Republicans is the myriad "authorized leaks" by the Executive branch--including but not limited to the bin Laden raid, foiled undie-bomber 2.0 plot, the Stuxnet virus to disrupt Iran's nuclear program, and the "Kill List"--for apparent political gain.
In case you forgot, the whistleblowers (some of them my clients) you have pursued criminally include:
Shamai Leibowitz - FBI translator who disclosed information to a blogger because of his all-too-real fear that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran, a move his saw as potentially disastrous.
Tom Drake - NSA senior executive who disclosed what turned out to be (contrary to the government's assertions) unclassified information about a failed and wasteful multi-billion dollar NSA domestic spying program that compromised Americans' privacy.
Steven Kim - State Department arms expert accused of disclosing that North Korea was planning to respond to a U.N. Security Council resolution by setting off a nuclear test.
Jeff Sterling - CIA officer who accused of revealing a bothched program in which we gave flawed nuclear design information to Iran. But the flaw was so obvious, Iran detected the ruse, and in the process we turned over actual useful nuclear secrets.
John Kiriakou - CIA officer who disclosed that torture was a policy and not a rogue improvisation, and that waterboarding is torture. He's accused of revealing to Gitmo detainee lawyers the identity of one of the officers who tortured the detainees.
Bradley Manning - Army private who allegedly revealed what he thought (and no one has disagreed that the "Collateral Murder" video showed) were war crimes.
This blog is not about debating the merits of these cases. That is happening in the courts. Rather, I submit, that if the Administration is serious about quelling the leak mania, it doesn't need to launch MORE leak investigations.
I said this loud and clear on DEMOCRACY NOW! here:
Instead, it needs to do a serious, critical, self-examination about what information the public has a right to know--both good and bad, both laudatory and embarrassing, both intentional or mistaken--in order to have the kind of informed and meaningful public debate essential to a functioning democracy.