Anti-Trump Leak Campaign Damaging U.S. and Allied Operations

U.S. official: Leaks of classified info by former Obama officials endanger American security operations

Donald Trump
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June 26, 2017

A new wave of leaks targeting the Trump administration has actively endangered ongoing intelligence and military operations being conducted by the United States and its allies, sparking anger and concern inside and outside the White House, according to multiple conversations with senior U.S. officials intimately familiar with the situation.

The classified leaks, which are being handed to sympathetic journalists by former Obama administration officials who left the government and by holdovers still serving in the Trump administration, have damaged a number of ongoing operations, ranging from American efforts to prevent Russian infiltration of the United States to Israeli efforts against ISIS, sources said.

A recent Washington Post story disclosed classified secrets as part of a larger story about Obama administration cyber efforts against Russia. It was published days after a New York Times story, which revealed details of a secret Israeli cyber operation that Trump is said to have leaked to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The sensitivity of the material being leaked has heightened criticism both of the former Obama officials who are suspected of unveiling these secrets and of the Trump administration for its seeming inability to stem the disclosures, according to these officials.

Anger is running so high that multiple current U.S. officials have named some of the former Obama officials they believe are behind the unauthorized disclosures, which Trump officials say are aimed at kneecapping the current administration and also rewriting the record of the Obama years.

"They [former Obama officials] offer ridiculous explanations about why Obama couldn't act more forcefully, and then they apparently leak even more information about certain U.S. measures they claim have been taken against Russia," said one senior U.S. official who deals closely with the matter. "The publication of this information, if it's true, could do some damage to our national security, but the sources don't seem to mind doing that if it helps advance their political narrative."

The sources leaking this information appear to be the same former Obama administration allies and holdovers behind a months-long series of damaging leaks.

"The sources for this [Post] article are obviously the same Obama holdovers who constantly leak classified information to the Washington Post," said the source, who would only discuss the matter under condition of anonymity. "They went back to the those same reporters and tried to rewrite history so it doesn't look like Obama was weak on Russia, which of course he was."

The leaks have been traced to a number of former Obama administration officials, including Ben Rhodes—the former National Security Council official responsible for creating an in-house 'echo chamber' meant to mislead reporters and the public about the landmark nuclear deal with Iran—and Colin Kahl, former Vice President Joe Biden's national security adviser.

Another source, this one a senior administration official who is also intimately familiar with the situation, confirmed the assessment to the Washington Free Beacon.

"Those responsible for the disastrous foreign national security policy of the Obama administration for the last years—Ben Rhodes, Colin Kahl—they provide the marching orders to a broader group of people that are associated with the broader [Democratic Party] Podesta-Clinton network, and now they're trying to rewrite history at the cost of American national security," the official said.

"For the last eight years, the priority was always the narrative … It was never the American interests, it was the interests of the Democratic Party and the Obama-Podesta-Clinton conglomerate," explained the source.

The nature and sensitivity of the leaks escalated recently, after efforts by congressional Democrats to accuse Trump officials of collusion with Russia ran into official denials from multiple officials who testified on the matter before Congress.

"This is yet another example of politics trumping national security and the questions is at what point are those who disagree with the results of the November 8 election going to stop endangering U.S. national security for their own political agenda," the official said.

The ongoing leaks have not only endangered U.S. operations, but those of America's closest allies, including Israel and others.

The recent disclosure in the press of Israeli operations targeting ISIS terrorists prompted a wave of anger from top Israeli officials blaming the leakers for creating an intelligence catastrophe for the Jewish state.

"Think about how this is playing in Israel," explained one veteran Middle East analyst who has discussed the Israeli concerns with senior White House officials. "For eight years Obama officials tried to undermine US-Israel ties, and the Israelis kept sharing sensitive intelligence with them anyway."

"Now these same Obama officials are trying to prevent Trump from rebuilding the relationship, and they're doing it by leaking the sensitive intelligence the Israelis shared—and devastating Israeli security in the process," the source said.

The Free Beacon first disclosed the breadth of this leak operation in February, when sources publicly identified several high-level former Obama officials as the source of multiple sensitive leaks that led to the ouster of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.