Well, I Guess They Know Now

From The Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON -- The Navy is rushing tiny underwater drones to the Persian Gulf to help find and destroy sea mines as part of an American military buildup aimed at stopping Iran from closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the event of a crisis, U.S. officials said.

So far, so good. American officials are providing The Los Angeles Times with information suggesting that U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for American security in the Persian Gulf, is deploying a new defensive weapon. I can understand why some officials might want to keep this secret -- why tell the Iranians what we're doing? -- but obviously a decision was made to let the Iranians know just what they're up against as a way to dissuade them from carrying out any sort of sea mine-related hijinks.

But then, a bit further down in the story, comes this:

The Obama administration previously sent two aircraft carriers and a squadron of F-22 fighter jets to the region and is keeping two Army brigades in Kuwait. The Pentagon has acknowledged those deployments, but has not publicly disclosed sending underwater drones, apparently to avoid alerting Iran.

Now sets in confusion. These two paragraphs should not be cohabitating within the same article. Some U.S. officials obviously want Iran to know about these underwater drones; otherwise, they wouldn't have told The Los Angeles Times about them. But are these officials operating counter to the interests of the Pentagon, which, the story tells us, wanted to keep the existence of these underwater drones secret, to avoid alerting Iran? The story provides no answers to these questions, nor does it even attempt to explore this obvious contradiction. Did someone in the American government just leak secret information against the wishes of the Pentagon? This is not journalism that illuminates.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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