Obama finds leak talk ‘offensive’

President Obama hasn’t taken kindly to suggestions by pundits and lawmakers that his administration leaked classified information to the New York Times on the government’s targeted killings and cyberattacks against Iran in order to score political points. "The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive," he said at ...

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama hasn't taken kindly to suggestions by pundits and lawmakers that his administration leaked classified information to the New York Times on the government's targeted killings and cyberattacks against Iran in order to score political points.

"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive," he said at a conference on Friday. "It's wrong." Here's more from the Associated Press:

Obama said his critics "need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office."

President Obama hasn’t taken kindly to suggestions by pundits and lawmakers that his administration leaked classified information to the New York Times on the government’s targeted killings and cyberattacks against Iran in order to score political points.

"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive," he said at a conference on Friday. "It’s wrong." Here’s more from the Associated Press:

Obama said his critics "need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office."

"We’re dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the American people, our families or our military personnel or our allies, and so we don’t play with that," he said.

Obama said his administration has "zero tolerance" for such leaks. Obama said there will be an internal administration probe but did not say by which agency.

"We have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences," Obama said. "In some cases, it’s criminal. These are criminal acts when they release information like this. And we will conduct thorough investigations, as we have in the past."

On Thursday I pointed out that the White House has behaved erratically when it comes to leaks — prosecuting several people in instances in which the classified information was damaging and taking no action in other cases in which the disclosures reflected more favorably on the administration. Will the Obama administration look into the most recent leaks — which contributed to articles that cast the president in a largely flattering light — with its characteristic aggressiveness? And will the internal investigation turn up anything? The proof of Obama’s comments today is in the pudding — or the probe, as it were.

Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland. Twitter: @UriLF

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