A secret is a tantalizing thing. It's like a little gem that you want to show the world, but to do so reduces it's worth. It's a catch-22, a conundrum. Some people are able to keep secrets and some are not. There are many motivations for revealing secrets.
Certain government jobs require the ability to keep secrets. We like our government to be transparent as much as possible, but it couldn't function in the rest of the world were it not able to maintain secrecy in certain areas. People's lives are at risk, as is our security. When a government secret gets out, we call it a leak. This is generally frowned upon, although in some cases is considered "whistle-blowing" when the government is doing extremely illegal or immoral things.
Republicans (and the people who support them) are currently upset by what they consider to be aggregious leaks from the Obama administration
Machen and Rosenstein were appointed to oversee investigations into who leaked information about U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran and an al-Qaida plot to place an explosive device aboard a U.S.-bound flight.
McCain called it the "almost unprecedented release of information which directly affects our national security. I can't think of any time that I have seen such breaches of ongoing national security programs as has been the case here."
High dudgeon indeed! Missing, of course, are specifics as to exactly how our national security has been compromised. Were covert operations scuttled? Were covert operatives flushed out? Were informants identified? It's a lot of wailing with no substance.
Candidate Romney has also complained
that the Obama administration has deliberately leaked information about the Osama bin Laden raid for political reasons. This has been part of a one-two punch by a group of swiftboaters trying to devalue the political capital President Obama earned for his part in orchestrating that raid. It should come as no surprise that the group behind this is packed with Republican operatives
. It certainly is apparent that someone
is trying to make this political, but it ain't the Obama campaign.
One aspect of that raid on Osama bin Laden, however, has been the need to keep the identities of the participants secret. The reason, of course, is that they would certainly be targets for revenge by al-Qaeda. The Obama administration has not released their names, which has made it difficult to square and counterpoint the criticisms by the swiftboating group.
One of the Navy Seals who participated decided to write a book about it to set the record straight. That book: "No Easy Day" was released with a pseudonym to protect the author's identity (and life). His identity, however, was revealed by none other than Republican propaganda outfit FOX News
The Navy SEAL who used a pseudonym to write an upcoming book on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has been revealed.
Penguin Books—which is publishing "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden" on Sept. 11 on its Dutton imprint—said the author used the pen name Mark Owen and changed the names of his fellow SEALs for security reasons.
But Fox News published Owen's real name, saying he is a 36-year-old Alaskan and former member of the so-called Team 6 that killed bin Laden in a May 2011 assault on the al-Qaida chief's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Why would FOX do this? My assumption is that the book is not critical of President Obama. Anything that helps strengthen his foreign policy credentials is anathema to the Republicans (and thus to FOX).
This seems to be the critical difference between leakers on the left and leakers on the right. Those on the left leak in order to expose general government malfeasence. Those on the right leak to punish individuals (think Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame
). In their mind, this Navy Seal deserved to be exposed for committing the cardinal sin of interfering with their political narrative.
Will McCain and all the rest be upset that FOX News exposed one of our elite soldiers (and his family) to certain danger by leaking his real name? I seriously doubt it. A leak only has merit when it can hurt the opposition.