Angered over a number of leaks about President Obama's deliberations over the war in Afghanistan and the investigation into the Fort Hood shootings, the administration is reportedly planning to find those responsible for the leaked information and punish them.
(AP Photo/Choi Bu-Seok, Pool)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday called leaks pertaining to the Fort Hood massacre "unconscionable" and said, "Everybody ought to just shut up," the New York Times reports.
With respect to the Afghanistan deliberations, Gates reportedly said, "I have been appalled by the amount of leaking that has been going on in this process."
He added that he believes "a lot of different places are leaking," saying he is "confident that the Department of Defense is one of them."
"And frankly if I found out with high confidence anybody who was leaking in the Department of Defense, who that was, that would probably be a career ender," Gates said.
The leaks have revealed a rift within the administration over whether to send more troops to Afghanistan or to instead take a more limited approach. Growing fed up with the leaks, the administration is now fighting back, according to Politico. Top administration lawyers reportedly said that the National Counterintelligence Executive, Robert Bear Bryant, has been instructed to come up with a strategy for stopping the leaks.
One leak from a classified cable showed that the U.S. envoy in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, strongly objected to proposals to send more troops to Afghanistan while the political situation there is unstable and uncertain.
A U.S. defense official said the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, feels he was "stabbed in the back" by Eikenberry, McClatchy reports.
Marvin Weinbaum, a former State Department intelligence analyst now with the Middle East Institute, told McClatchy the Eikenberry leaks have left Mr. Obama with no choice but to delay the unveiling of his new Afghan policy.
"He can't dismiss [the cable]," Weinbaum said. "It complicates things enormously. It really sets things back."