Not Quite Getting It

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on June 11, 2012

I don’t blame David Sanger for having used leaked information from the Obama administration to write stories regarding the administration’s national security procedures. Someone leaked to Sanger, and like the good journalist that he wants to be (I don’t know enough about him to know whether he actually is a good journalist), Sanger made use of the information. Assuming that he broke no laws while doing so, he should not be on the receiving end of opprobrium for that fact.

But to say that there were no political motivations behind the leaks is more than a little naïve. Does Sanger really believe that the people who leaked to him weren’t out to make the president look good in an election year by portraying him as tough, involved, and ready to kill America’s enemies in remorseless and methodical fashion? Jack Goldsmith is much more persuasive in arguing that they were. I don’t know why Sanger appears to have forgotten that Team Obama was always very much interested in the goings on of 2012, and constantly has been looking for ways to ensure that the president and his family get to spend eight years in the White House instead of four.

I write all of this because it would be nice if Sanger and the rest of the New York Times write stories focusing on the leak investigation that is currently going on. The national security leaks that have gone on are unlawful, and those responsible for having broken those laws need to be prosecuted. Contra Sanger, the violation of national security laws is a very serious matter, and merits a full investigation. And yes, as John McCain states, there ought to be a special prosecutor. In fact, Sanger’s editorial colleagues at the New York Times ought to be screaming for one, and they would–if only the leaks had emanated from a Republican administration.

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