Secretary Gates to Leakers: “Shut Up”


Starting with General Stanley McChrystal’s confidential strategy assessment, which wound up in the hands of Bob Woodward, the Obama administration’s typically tight ship has been leaking like a sieve when it comes to the ongoing strategy deliberations over Afghanistan. Surely it was no accident when news of Ambassador Karl Eikenberry’s cable, expressing concerns over sending additional troops to Afghanistan, ended up in the New York Times on the very day that President Obama and his war council were scheduled to convene to discuss a range of strategy options. It’s becoming pretty clear that when it comes to Obama’s war plan the administration’s competing factions are jockeying for influence via the press to advance their preferred policy options. 

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for one, has had enough of it. Speaking to reporters  today, he put his agency’s personnel on notice that, if discovered, Pentagon leakers will need to find a new line of work.

Via the Armed Forces Press Service:

I am appalled by the amount of leaking that has been going on,” Gates told reporters traveling with him today in the wake of media reports following yesterday’s national security session on Afghanistan, President Barack Obama’s eighth in the past two months.

Gates said he has little doubt that some of those leaks have come from within the Defense Department. “If I found out who” was involved, he said, “it would probably be a career ender.”

Returning to the leaking issue, Gates condemned information made public about the alleged Fort Hood gunman that he said could jeopardize the investigation.

“Everybody out there with their own little piece of the action” doesn’t understand how it fits into the big picture, he said. “Everybody out there ought to just shut up.”

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  • Dan Schulman

    Daniel Schulman is Mother Jones' deputy Washington, DC, bureau chief. Reach him at dschulman (at) motherjones.com. Dan is the New York Times best-selling author of Sons of Wichita, a biography of the Koch brothers that is now out in paperback.