Every administration leaks classified national security information, and every president tries to stop it. Here are a few.
In Friday's White House press briefing, President Obama responded to claims that his administration permitted the unauthorized leaking of classified information, particularly regarding U.S. targeted killing policy and efforts to sabotage Iran's uranium enrichment centrifuges through cyber attacks. Obama declared:
The notion that my White House would purposefully release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong...We're dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and the security of the American people, our families, or our military personnel or our allies. We don't play with that, and it is a source of consistent frustration, not just for my administration, but for previous administrations when this stuff happens.
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He is correct that every administration leaks classified national security information, which will either be confirmed or denied by anonymous senior officials. The round-the-clock news cycle and proliferation of social media platforms have certainly led to louder, rapid-fire political discourse of charges and counter-charges in response to such leaks. As a brief tour of leaks over the past six decades demonstrates, this is nothing new.
John F. Kennedy, December 12, 1962:
Q: You don't know, then, who leaked it?
PRESIDENT KENNEDY: NO, I don't know who, and I think it's unfortunate if anybody discusses any matter that comes before the National Security Council because I think it lessens its effectiveness. But I have satisfied myself that the remark did not come from a member of the National Security Council.