(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Obama administration has recently been accused of releasing classified information for political gain — including leaks about a secret terrorist “kill list” and the use of cyber-weapons against Iran. The White House denies the charges. We’ll discuss recent and historical leaks, and the allegations that some disclosures have compromised national security.

Guests:
Vikram Amar, professor of law and associate dean for academic affairs at the UC Davis School of Law
Peter Bergen, national security analyst for CNN, director at the New America Foundation and author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden -- From 9/11 to Abbottabad"
Marc Thiessen, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington Post columnist and former White House senior staff member under President George W. Bush
Jane Wales, president and CEO of the World Affairs Council and former senior director of the National Security Council

  • Rhet

    How ironic, that while Obama has taken such pains to discriminate against and prosecute leakers and whistle-blowers and even seems to be planning to execute Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, when it comes to someone in his own administration leaking classified material for political purposes, he comes to their defense. This is Chicago-style corruption at its finest!

    Another ironic point: Obama is a “black” president yet he hasn’t helped everyday black people one bit, whereas he has helped other minorities.

  • Sam B

     These leaks were a GOOD thing, the past two and a half centuries of
    American history, as well as the history of every nation-state and people around the
    world, is one where the masses get manipulated into supporting wars and
    international imperialism by governments which lack transparency. The Iraq debacle among others shows how a secretive and aloof government can drag the people to war against their will by manipulating the truth, and leaks like these could have provided the much-needed transparency in 2003. I am fine with these leaks, but not because they make Obama look “good” but because it reveals how the Obama administration has been adopting the same aggressive international strategies.

  • Best

    We seem to have at most a confirmation of known information and facts with people placing a label such as “leak” or  “worst leaks ever seen”. Please identify specific information, that was unknown before the”leak”,, show how it caused damage, what damage it caused. Peter Bergen basically pointed out that this topic is just political spin.

  • Rhet

    The male guest said “it’s classified for a reason” but this is weasel words. He knows very well that lots of documents are classified for purely political reasons, and lots of documents and other media were classified by Bush/Cheney in order to conceal criminal activities by that administration and its cronies.

  • juliewolves

    This sounds like those who want to get rid of our president are upset that information obtained by news organizations appears to benefit him..  I think they really have small concern about our national security.  I’m disappointed by your encouraging these radical right tantrums.

  • Gtherkldsen

    I find it offensive  that someone from the Administration that fed us lies about WMDs demands investigations on an Administration that admits to real truths

  • Fred

    Tell you guest that 9/11 was not perpetrated by Muslims, there is NO evidence that they did, and there is a mountain of evidence that it was perpetrated by US military contractors who control the Pentagon.

  • Doug

    The attack of 9/11 was wsuccesful because of failures in the Bush aministration and the intelligence community. Had the American public been more aware of what the intelligence community knew and was trying to get the Bush administration take more seriously maybe some alert citizen would have noticed suspicious behaivour missed by airport security.

    • Fred

       9/11 was an inside job. WTC building 7 fell at free-fall speed despite not being hit by any planes, it was a controlled demolition. The Twin Towers were also controlled demolitions, as proven by chemical analysis of WTC dust. The Pentagon CLEARLY was not hit by a large plane, it was hit by a missile.

  • Chrisco

    I do believe this story was brought to us by Glenn Greenwald.
    http://www.salon.com/2012/06/07/probing_obamas_secrecy_games/singleton/

    Here he is on June 7th:
    “Over the past several months, including just last week, I’ve written numerous times about the two glaring contradictions that drive the Obama administration’s manipulative game-playing with its secrecy powers: (1) at
    the very same time that they wage an unprecedented war on
    whistleblowers, they themselves continuously leak national security
    secrets exclusively designed to glorify Obama purely for political gain;
    and (2) at the very same time they insist to federal
    courts that these [drone] programs are too secret even to confirm or deny their
    existence (thereby shielding them from judicial review or basic
    disclosure), they run around publicly boasting about their actions.”
     

  • Chemist150

    Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not out to get you.  This guy cited 9-11 as justification but that’s been deemed as blow back.  Would it not be prudent to determine what is blow back and what is not?  Between the US and the Soviet Union, we helped create the issues in Afghanistan.  They also don’t want to pursue reports on leaks because they need to be able to do controlled leaks and propaganda like the Iranian “nuclear trigger” that someone with graduate level nuclear chemistry and point out as being a part of an early generation nuclear power plant (that was built by the Russians and some US aid (Carter)).  It was most likely a document from the IEAE submitted by Iran and that’s why Hillary and Ban Ki Moon had nothing to say.
     
    We also continue to create the situation with Iran and one simply has to look no further than the oil deal that ended in 1979 and subsequently got them attacked by Iraq with US prodding and promise of support.  There is a whole lot of information being glossed over here for the support of secrecy.  It might do the world good to know how dirty US hands are.  We did not elect you.  We elected someone we thought wanted peace and negotiation.  Not someone ordering hits on US citizens without trial.

  • Peter Williams

     I don’t think the fellow from the AEI has ever worked with classified information.

    The
    decision to classify isn’t handed down by some angel from heaven. It is
    an executive branch decision. The President, as head of the executive
    branch, may unilaterally decide to disclose this information and make it
    by definition unclassified, and this is not of itself illegal. Bradley
    Manning is different for the same reason that the private company I work
    for can make public announcements but I can not speak for my company
    without previous authorization, and in fact I can get in a lot of
    trouble if I do so.

    Why is this so complicated?

    Valerie Plame is a false analogy.
    What make the leak illegal was not that it was
    classified information per se, but the fact that disclosure of a CIA operative’s identity is in itself a direct violation of statue. Moreover, and what enraged the left in particular, was that the leak was a personal
    vendetta by the VP against a US operative.

    The leak
    was a deliberately misleading attempt to draw attention away from Wilson’s claims
    regarding the lack of uranium transfer in Niger to Iraq, which it turns out were
    materially true. It was a deliberate attempt to obfuscate the truth in order to maintain the drumbeat for war in Iraq, a war which ultimately had no justification in fact. That, of course, was not illegal – although the disclosure itself was – but it certainly animated the left.

    The parallel to drones etc is completely non-existent
    and absurd.

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