- Mexico plans how to safely box up recovered cobalt
- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
Inside the Ring: Pentagon plumber
Pentagon general counsel Jeh Johnson is leading a major effort to plug news leaks and recently sent a memorandum to all Defense Department employees requesting that they all search their computers for information about contacts with reporters, according to defense officials familiar with the memo.
The memo said officials should look for the names of several reporters for the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. The officials disclosed the name of only one of the reporters: David E. Sanger of the New York Times.
One official who received the memo was surprised by the request because the Pentagon’s information-technology security officials already have the capability to search Pentagon computers. Knowing that a major leak investigation is under way is not likely to produce admissions by officials who were in touch with the reporters in question.
A U.S. official said what also was unusual about the Johnson memo was its classification. The request was given the highest security classification level, above the “top secret” label.
The memo is part of the hunt within the Obama administration to find who disclosed information about cyberwarfare operations and counterterrorism activities. The issue surfaced recently as a major point of contention in the presidential election.
Republicans on Capitol Hill accused the White House of deliberately leaking sensitive information about U.S. covert activities in an effort to bolster President Obama’s image as the commander in chief. Boosting the president’s national security credentials is viewed as a way to avoid discussing his role in the floundering U.S. economy.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta; Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Mr. Johnson testified on the news-leak issue last month before the House Armed Services Committee.
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, the committee chairman, told reporters after the closed-door hearing that he did not think the Pentagon was the source of leaks to reporters in recent months. He also said the senior defense officials had said they were taking steps to prevent disclosures.
The Justice Department is investigating how information was made public linking the U.S. and Israeli governments to the cyberwarfare attack on Iran involving a computer virus called Stuxnet, something reported by Mr. Sanger. A second probe is said to focus on an Associated Press report that identified a Saudi undercover agent who had helped thwart a second terrorist bomb plot that originated in Yemen.
GOP to hit Obama ‘Flexibility’
The Republican Party has produced an advertisement for use in the fall presidential campaign that criticizes President Obama for his open-microphone comments promising concessions in missile-defense talks with the Russians after his presumed re-election.
The advertisement is one of a series of critical ads being readied for the coming political warfare among Republicans and Democrats when the election campaign kicks into high gear after Labor Day.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- 'Harry Potter' and 'Hunger Games' fans debate over political messages in films
- Democratic infighting erupts with squabble over entitlements
- Young and healthy millennials create risky imbalance by shunning Obamacare
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Allen West warns Obamas backdoor gun control is moving forward
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Susan Rice slams Russia, China on human rights
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.