News24

Leak allegations 'offensive' - Obama

2012-06-09 09:54

Washington - US President Barack Obama hit back on Friday at accusations that the White House was somehow involved in leaking classified national security secrets, labelling the allegations as "offensive."

Lawmakers have fumed this week over a series of news reports, some quoting anonymous administration officials, that reveal details of covert US operations. Some Republicans have suggested they were done in order to boost Obama's image of a tough commander-in-chief in an election year.

"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive," Obama said. "It's wrong. And, you know, people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office."

Several stories

Several explosive stories have emerged recently, including Obama's push for cyber attacks on computers that run Iran's nuclear facilities; an apparent "kill list" of counterterrorism targets against whom Obama has authorised lethal action; and a secret drone campaign against terrorists in Yemen.

The New York Times reported that sources for their articles on the covert programs included former or current administration officials.

"We're dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the American people, our families, or our military personnel, or our allies. And so we don't play with that," Obama said.

"Whether or not the information they received is true, the writers of these articles have all stated unequivocally they didn't come from this White House, and that's not how we operate."

Senator John McCain, who lost the 2008 presidential race to Obama, has been leading the accusations and received backing on Thursday from Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

"It has to be for re-election," King told Politico magazine about the leaks. "They can deny it all they want. But it would require a suspension of belief to believe it's not being done for political purposes."

Legislation

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chair Dianne Feinstein has called on Congress to swiftly enact legislation tightening rules to prevent unauthorised breaches, and welcomed an investigation launched by the FBI.

But she has held back on calling for a special prosecutor to look into the leaks, a move the White House has said Obama will not agree to.

Obama's Republican White House rival, Mitt Romney, believes the president should take greater charge in order to stop the leaks in their tracks.

"Leadership starts at the top. It's his sincere hope that the president is using all means at his disposal to put an end to this harmful practice," Romney campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said on Thursday.

Comments
  • goyougoodthing - 2012-06-09 10:44

    Cry on... in my experience, anyone who 'takes exception' to a situation and calls it 'offensive' is usually culpable in some form. When things are not true it doesn't offend the innocent...

      Squeegee - 2012-06-09 13:54

      Anything any politician says needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

      James - 2012-06-09 14:22

      Obumsters top advisers like Axelrod is steeped in Communism, so is the Community organizer in Chief via Ayers. Search Communists in Obama's past you will be shocked.

  • dawood.timol - 2012-06-09 11:52

    everyone thought obama was different,different from the previous,racist,greedy,power hungry,murderous,materialistic thieving presidents and politicians that rule and govern the US,but i wouldn't be surprised at these allegations.Under his leadership the murder,thieving and lies continue.After all he's also attached to strings that lead to a master. VIVA OWS......

      goyougoodthing - 2012-06-09 12:02

      He can't be different. He is and was, one of them - a politician. They are all bad, every one of them.

  • melania.nel - 2012-06-09 12:09

    Let me guess. Its not in his culture. They must blame apartheid. Me thinks the pres doth protest too much.

      jean.rossouwsa - 2012-06-09 13:52

      haha' Give than man a Bells!

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