Congress and the Department of Justice are investigating the possibility that classified national security information has been leaked to the media and published in a series of recent news reports. But Fox News figures are not waiting for the results of these investigations.
Instead, they are attempting to scandalize President Obama's foreign policy achievements, declaring definitively -- and without hard evidence -- that the White House disclosed classified information through politically motivated leaks.
On Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said that “it's obvious that the administration had to have some hand in some of this.” Fox News national security analyst K.T. McFarland wrote in a column for FoxNews.com that “the Obama administration seems to have engaged in a systematic program of leaking the most highly classified information about our successful intelligence operations for its own political gain.” And Fox co-host Greg Gutfeld said flatly that “the leaks are coming from the White House.”
They all made their accusations without offering any proof. And in fact, President Obama has denied that the White House purposely leaked classified information, calling such suggestions “offensive” and “wrong.” And the managing editor of The New York Times, whose reporting is at the center of the controversy, has denied that “the paper is on the receiving end of silver-platter leaks from the Obama administration.”
Even Republican leaders of the congressional intelligence committees have said that they're committed to a fair investigation.
But not Fox News.
The announcements of the investigations began in the middle of May, when FBI director Robert Mueller said that the FBI is looking into the release of information about a double agent's disruption of a bomb plot by the Al Qaeda branch in Yemen.
Then, on May 29, The New York Times published a report detailing the Obama administration's use of a secret “kill list” for its campaign of drone strikes. On June 1, the Times reported on Obama's involvement in U.S. cyberattacks against Iran's nuclear program, including the use of the Stuxnet worm.
Days later, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI is investigating the disclosure of details about the cyberattacks on Iran.
In response, Politico reported that the Times' managing editor, Dean Baquet, rebutted accusations that the administration was “somehow involved in leaking the stories”:
“I can't believe anybody who says these are leaks,” he said. “Read those stories. They are so clearly the product of tons and tons of reporting.” [emphasis added]
Congress has also taken action over concerns that classified information may have been leaked.
The leadership of the congressional intelligence committees met with national security officials and announced plans for legislation cracking down on the release of classified information. The House intelligence committee is also conducting its own leak investigation.
At a June 8 press conference held by the committee leaders, Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss cautioned that the investigations are “not meant to be a political exercise.” He also emphasized that the point of the investigation is to “get to the bottom of the issue of these leaks,” regardless of whether the administration was involved or not:
Q: Do you believe, knowing what you know about the leaks, that they are politically motivated to try to help President Obama?
SEN. CHAMBLISS: I'm not going to prejudge what the FBI is charged with the responsibility of doing. And we're going to meet with Director Mueller this afternoon.
We know that investigation has already begun, and it's going to be done very thoroughly. And you know, we've been through this before in the Bush administration. Wherever the responsibility falls out, that's where it's going to be. And if it's in the administration, fine. If it's not in the administration, fine.
This is not meant to be a political exercise. This is too critical to the future of the intelligence community of the United States. And it's our intention just to get to the bottom of the issue of these leaks and, as we move forward, to try to make sure that we put measures in place that not only make it more difficult for future leaks to occur but the consequences of those future leaks be dealt with immediately and strongly. [emphasis added]
Similarly, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers said that a “complete, fair and impartial investigation” should “take you where you go”:
REP. ROGERS: I mean, I agree with my ranking member. That's the whole point of having a complete, fair and impartial investigation. And it should take you where you go. And one of our challenges here amongst us is that even the DNI has only a small jurisdiction -- or smaller jurisdiction of investigative authority.
DOJ is obviously recusing themselves from aspects of it. So you can see where it gets a little messy. And our goal here is to determine what is the best course for a fair, impartial and complete investigation. [emphasis added]
Also on June 8, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that two U.S. attorneys will lead the DOJ's investigation into the possible leaks.
So, the investigations into this matter have barely begun. The administration has denied leaking classified information, and the news outlet responsible for much of the reporting involved has denied getting its information through leaks from the White House.
Even GOP members of Congress are urging restraint.
Nevertheless, many at Fox News have already declared the Obama administration guilty of serious crimes.