Friendly Leaks Backfire

Relentless in prosecuting Private Bradley Manning who allegedly leaked (amongst others) hundreds of thousands  of revealing US diplomatic cables in 2009, some of them classified and/or embarrassing, and apparently fighting sort of war against Julian Assange and  WikiLeaks, the platform which made them public, Obama is also in the midst of a re-election campaign. Recent stories in major US mainstream media about leaked (by former and current administration officials) information on Obama’s drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with a personal “kill list” of possible targets and his highly questionable cyber war against Iranian nuclear facilities have widely been interpreted as just being part of his election campaign. A tough Commander-in-Chief acts as he is supposed to. If that was the case it has largely backfired. The self-declared 2008 “beacon of hope” and Nobel peace prize laureate of 2009 in fact acts like his immediate predecessor George W. Bush “on steroids” as Aaron David Miller wrote at Foreign Policy.

Well, that these leaks have widely been regarded as being in Obama’s interest has apparently offended him. US Attorney General Eric Holder has meanwhile appointed two prosecutors to lead a criminal investigation of the leaks.

As usual nowadays, Obama’s outrage may be rather hypocritical, though. When celebrating last month the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s  assassination Obama’s catchpenny details of the operation have angered many in (mainly hypocritical as well) GOP, and others as well. Obama needs to understand that using leaks is part of any free journalism. What people have learned from WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables about US American foreign policy may have even sparked revolutions in Arab countries.

The American President seems to be easily offended. The recent leaks about his cyber war and personal killing list leading to targeted drone assassinations with numerous civilian casualties paint probably a much more realistic, very dark, picture of Barack Hussein Obama. Maybe he wasn’t totally sure whether the leaks would actually help him staying in the White House or rather lead to his voting out.

Last modified June 9, 2012.

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