The top 5 most damaging national security leaks of the past year
CybersabotageSophisticated computer viruses have been wreaking havoc with Iran’s nuclearprogram. Flame came from American-Israeli collaboration, sources like a“former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official” told The Washington Post. Thisfollowed a similar revelation about the Stuxnet virus in the June 1 edition ofThe New York Times.
Aid to Syrian Rebels A June 21 New York Times headline reads, “CIA said to aid in steering arms to Syrian opposition.” The article, quoting Arab and American officials, detailed CIA efforts to gather intelligence on Syrian opposition groups and keep weapons headed for Syrian rebel fighters out of terrorists’ hands. The revelations, however, likely complicated both tasks by compromising sources as well as U.S. intelligence officials.
Obama’s Drone ‘Kill List’ In May, The New York Times, quoting officials present in meetings with President Obama and his inner circle, revealed that Obama approved every name on the secret terrorist “kill list.” Newsweek also published an excerpt from Daniel Klaidman’s new book, “Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency,” which discussed, among other details, how Obama, Gen. James Cartwright and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan collaborated on approved targets.
The British Mole In May, the CIA announced it had foiled a new underwear bombing plot directed at U.S. airlines and conceived by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The good news quickly turned into a PR fiasco, however, after The AP reported that the bomber wasn’t captured, but was, rather, a mole recruited by British intelligence. Not surprisingly, the British were unhappy that their asset was revealed. Blame for the leak was pinned on the Obama administration.
The Pakistani Doctor Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor, agreed to work with the CIA on a vaccine drive in Abbottabad as part of a plot to obtain DNA from Osama Bin Laden’s family. For his efforts, Afridi was rewarded with having the plot and his identity published in The Guardian as well as being sentenced to 33 years in a Pakistani prison. Rep. Peter King, R- N.Y., blamed the Obama administration for the leak, though officials insist the Pakistanis spilled the beans.