The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"By which I mean, of course, we're all dangerously inept and must be stopped."

So I was a little slow on the draw reporting on the White House's leaking of the Osama bin Laden tape. Here's a quick rundown for anyone who missed it:

U.S. intelligence officials will investigate allegations that the government improperly leaked a secretly obtained Osama bin Laden video, alerting al-Qaeda to a security gap in the terrorist group's internal communications network that it was able to shut, an intelligence spokesman said yesterday. (. . .)

Soon afterward, the video was downloaded by dozens of computers registered to government agencies. Within hours, SITE's copy of the video was leaked to television news networks and broadcast worldwide.

I should add that "administration to be investigated for damaging terrorist surveillance program" strikes me as a story that should rate higher than A-13 in the Post, but that's the press for you.

Dan Froomkin adds a detail that was apparently seen as mere coincidence by story's editors, and therefore omitted from the already-buried story:

[J]ust five hours after a private intelligence company sent confidential links to the video to White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding and the No. 2 official at the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter, the video showed up on the Fox News Web site.

Yeah, probably just a coincidence. It's not like the White House Spokesmonkey is a Fox News flunky or anything. Not since Dana Perino stepped into the position full time, that is. So what does she have to say?

First [Perino] said the administration got the video and "immediately turned it over to the National Center for Counterterrorism." Then she changed her story at least twice, suggesting SITE gave the video directly to the NCC, and wound up promising to get back to reporters. "I don't know who else they might have called with it in our government. Possibly the [director of national intelligence] counsel's office, but I'm not positive," she told reporters. "I can check." She described the leak scandal as merely a "process problem." On MSNBC's "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" Tuesday night, Dana Milbank compared Perino to former press secretary Scott McClellan: "You could play certain tapes of Scott McClellan using the same words to exonerate Karl Rove or Scooter Libby."

BONUS FACT! "[L]egislation sponsored by Senators Jon Kyl and Joe Lieberman declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization" on September 26. Editorial comment: Joe Lieberman is batshit crazy and doing everything he can to open a third front in the war that's already failing on two.