The Coordinated Leaky Drips In The White House

As I’ve noted previously, there has been a hue and cry against the critical and untenable use, and abuse, of secrecy by the United States government. There has always been some abuse of the government’s classified evidence for political gain by various administrations operating the Executive Branch, but the antics of the Obama administration have taken the disingenuous ploy to a new art form.

Today, via Politico’s old fawning Washington DC gluehorse, Roger Simon, comes an unadulterated (sometimes x-rated) and stunningly tin eared and arrogant admission of what the Obama White House is all about, straight from the lips of Obama consigliere Bill Daley:

Rahm was famous for calling reporters, do you call reporters? I ask.

“I call; I’m not as aggressive leaking and stroking,” Daley says. “I’m not reflecting on Rahm, but I’m not angling for something else, you know? Rahm is a lot younger [Emmanuel is 51], and he knew he was going to be doing something else in two years or four years or eight years, and I’m in a different stage. I’m not going to become the leaker in chief.”

You’ve got others for that, I say.

“Yeah, and hopefully in some organized leaking fashion,” Daley says, laughing. “I’m all for leaking when it’s organized.”

Oh, ha ha ha, isn’t that just hilarious? Bill Daley, and the White House he runs, are all for leaking, history bears out even the most highly classified government secrets, and doing so in an organized pre-planned fashion, when it serves their little self-centric petty political interests. But god help an honest citizen like Thomas Drake who, after exhausting all other avenues of pursuit within the government, leaks only the bare minimum information necessary to expose giant government waste, fraud and illegality because he feels it his duty as a citizen.

For citizens like Tom Drake, the “most transparent administration in history” will come down on his head like a ton of nuclear bricks even when they embarrass themselves in so doing. But they are more than willing to exploit and leak to self serve their own interests. What is good for the king is not appropriate for the commoner.

In this regard, I wish to amplify point that Glenn Greenwald has previously made about the pernicious affect of this duplicitous use of classified information. Glenn said:

But the problem is much worse than mere execssive secrecy. Anyone who purports concern over the harmful leaking of classified information should look first to the Obama administration, which uses secrecy powers as a manipulative tool to propagandize the citizenry: trumpeting information that makes the leader and his government look good while  suppressing anything with the force of criminal law that does the opposite. Using secrecy powers to propagandize the citizenry this way is infinitely more harmful than any of the leaks the Obama administration has so aggressively prosecuted.

That is exactly right. It is not just that the government keeps unnecessary secrets from the public on information that is critical to their duties and responsibilities as citizens, it is that the self-serving selective leaking creates an intentionally fraudulent paradigm for the citizenry. It is not only manipulative, is fundamentally dishonest and duplicitous.

When the leaking is so selective and self-serving it is not just the people who are deceived, is the press they rely on as a neutral information conduit from which to make their opinions and determinations. The press then becomes little more than a hollow funnel for opportunistic and dishonest spin. We saw the effects of this in the case of Anwar Awlaki’s extrajudicial assassination, and have seen it again in the Scary Iranian Terrorist Murder ruse.

The last bastions against this pernicious practice are the press and courts. Until both start admitting how they are relentlessly gamed and played by the White House, there is little hope for change. And make no mistake, the press ratifies this pernicious conduct by lazily accepting such leaks and reporting without properly noting just how malignant the process is. It is all a joke to Bill Daley and Barack Obama, and the joke is on us.

PS: For a little more on the joy that is White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, see Digby today. And a fine dissertation of why Daley should be fired on the spot by Joan Walsh in Salon. I would only note that it is not just Rahm and Daley, it is the man who consistently brings this Chicago style heavy handed belligerence to the White House. Mr. Obama’s two Chiefs of Staff do not operate apart from him, they ARE him and his Presidency. The buck for this stops at the top.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
14 replies
  1. Steve says:

    How can Daley even look at himself in the mirror in the morning? Or does he have others who do that for him?

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Selling propaganda to its citizens remains an illegal act by the government. It is not just a misappropriation of funds, the cost of lying to or deceiving citizens, it is a misappropriation of the truth that takes a jack hammer to democracy.

  3. Bill Michtom says:

    Daley can’t see his image behind the layer of Benjamin Franklins that he pastes there to keep his eye on the prize.

  4. upyernoz says:

    why are you assuming that when daley talks about leaking information he is referring to leaking classified information?

    most leaks are about stuff that isn’t classified, it’s just not publicized yet. that is, until the leak. but there is a big difference between leaking stuff that has been classified and leaking stuff that just hasn’t been publicized but isn’t protected by law.

  5. bmaz says:

    @upyernoz: Why do you assume he isn’t? It is an incontrovertible fact that the WH leaks classified information constantly. All that “background” disseminated about the bin-Laden operation, the same on Awlaki and the same for all kinds of aspects of the drone program are ALL sanctioned coordinated leaks intentionally put out in a self serving manner by the highest levels of the Obama White House. Perhaps you have missed all that….

  6. upyernoz says:

    was the bin laden assassination classified? I don’t know if it ever was.

    as for the awlaki assassination, yes, there were leaked details that were probably classified. I’ll give you that one. the problem is that only rarely are we told what is classified and what isn’t. so it is hard to een assess how often the leaks are leaks of classified info.

    on the other hand, the great majority of leaks are leaks about strategy, trial balloons about things the administration is thinking of trying, accounts of closed door meetings, and the like. those things are almost definitely not classified. which is why I asked my question. it’s wrong to assume that by endorsing a leak, Daley is endorsing a leak of classified information. they are not the same thing. if you’re going to nail him with admitting something like that, make sure that is what he is actually admitting. I don’t think he is in this case.

  7. bmaz says:

    @upyernoz: The bin-Laden assassination was, and is, absolutely classified at the highest level. So is the Awlaki situation. This goes on constantly and it is absolutely fair to tar Daley with just that.

  8. Morris Minor says:

    Chicago style heavy handed belligerence

    The Presidency is not a country parish. I need a shark in the White House. If the President isn’t a heavy-handed vile bastard, the country has no future. But I want him on my side.

    LBJ was a vile bastard- Obama and Rahm would both wimper like puppies in the presence of that man. But he was on my side.

  9. Sling Trebuchet says:

    @Morris Minor: You are either being funny or you really don’t understand what is really going on.

    Those guys are not on your side.
    You are on their side. They do whatever they want to do. You help to legitimise it.
    What they do has turned America into a danger to itself and to the world.
    You are on their side. They are not on your side.

  10. lollardy says:

    @upyernoz: let me direct you to the sentence that clears this up for you: “Bill Daley, and the White House he runs, are all for leaking, history bears out even the most highly classified government secrets, and doing so in an organized pre-planned fashion, when it serves their little self-centric petty political interests. ”

    History bears out that they leak highly classified stuff. Anyone who reads the washington post and the times knows this.

  11. klynn says:

    It is quite humorous whenever EW does a post directed to the WH, OB and Daley, the attack dogs come out. We never see such comments appear on other posts…Just on these posts.

    BTW our dear Morrie/Moggie…The vehicle was dangerously nonabsorbent in a crash. There is a problem when something looks good on the outside but cannot begin to understand “safety”. But the reference seems to fit the commenting.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    @Morris Minor: You mistake attributes for policies and who they benefit and harm. Mr. Obama is well right of center. Unless you are part of the top 1%, the things he advocates and supports do not promote your interests. That he foams at the mouth less than the cartoonish characters running for the GOP ticket for the presidency is not much of a recommendation.

    You also mistake the policies Obama’s rhetoric claims as his with what he and Congressional Democrats are really fighting for. In a conflict between defending you from a fraudulent foreclosure by a bank with no legal title to foreclose against you and Goldman Sachs, whose interest do you think Mr. Obama would champion? Yours? I thought not.

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