Conservative Media's Fantasy That Obama Leaked Info On Israel's Nuclear Capabilities

Right-wing media are up in arms over the Department of Defense's (DOD) release of a 1987 report suggesting Israel has nuclear capabilities, claiming the acknowledgement of the country's nuclear program is an “unprecedented” “leak” and act of “treachery” from the White House. In reality, the Bush administration declassified information on Israel's nuclear program years ago, and the DOD only released the 1987 report after years of fighting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

Conservative Media Stoke Fears That Obama “Leaked” Info On Israel's Nuclear Program “For The First Time”

Rush Limbaugh: Obama Released Report That “Revealed” Israel Has Nuclear Capabilities, An “Unprecedented” Decision Meant To Anger Netanyahu. During the March 26 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh claimed that the Obama administration “quietly declassified a 336-page Defense Department document -- top-secret document” that details Israel's nuclear program. Limbaugh called the decision “unprecedented” and asserted it was because Obama's “nose is out of joint” over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress. He went on, “No one has ever admitted that Israel has nukes” until this document was released. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show3/26/15]

Sean Hannity: “Obama Has Now Leaked Israel's Nuclear Secrets To The World,” An Act Of “High Crimes And Misdemeanors.” On the March 26 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity asserted the administration “actually leaked Israeli nuclear secrets,” calling the release of the report “a level of treachery I can't even begin to comprehend.” Hannity claimed Obama engaged in “espionage” and “sabotage” against Israel. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show3/26/15

Mark Levin: This Is “A Leak” Of A “Top-Secret” Report Because Obama's “Decided That Israel Has Got To Go.” During the March 26 edition of Cumulus Media Networks' The Mark Levin Show, Mark Levin called the DOD's release “a leak” and asserted that it “means that Obama has decided that Israel has got to go.” [Cumulus Media Networks, The Mark Levin Show3/26/15]

The Weekly Standard: “In Shocking Breach,” U.S. Declassifies Report Acknowledging Israel's Nuclear Program For “The First Time.” In a March 26 blog post, The Weekly Standard asserted that the release of the document was a “shocking breach” and the “first time Israel's alleged nuclear program has ever been officially and publically referenced by the U.S. authorities.” [The Weekly Standard, The Blog, 3/26/15]

But The Bush Administration Declassified Information About Israel's Nuclear Capabilities Years Ago

In 2008, Bush Administration Declassified Report That Stated Israel “Has Produced Nuclear Weapons.” In January 2008, the Bush Administration declassified a 1974 “top-secret” report, “Prospects for Further Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,” that noted Israel “has produced nuclear weapons.” The report was declassified in response to a FOIA request. [The Washington Post1/13/08]

In 2006, Bush Administration Declassified Documents Detailing Secret Policy Debates Over The Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program. In April 2006, the National Security Archive published 30 declassified U.S. government documents that “disclosed the existence of a highly secret policy debate... over the Israeli nuclear weapons program.” The documents were used for an article which found, “Israel already had a nuclear device by 1967.” [The National Security Archive, 4/28/06]

DOD Only Released Report After Battling A FOIA Request In Court 

DOD Fought FOIA Request To Release Document In Federal Court. A January 8 article from Washington Examiner explained the long legal battle for the release of the report due to a FOIA request by Grant Smith, writing, “Defense officials are fighting a three-year-old request under the Freedom of Information Act to release a 1987 report supposedly discussing Israel's nuclear technology.” [Washington Examiner1/8/15]

And DOD Asked Israel To Review Before Releasing Report

Pentagon Asked Israel To Review The Document Before Releasing It. Washington Examiner also reported:

In a seldom-used legal move known as optional review, Pentagon officials have asked the Israeli government to review the report before they consider releasing it. 


While the Israeli government is not obligated to respond, U.S. defense officials said “diplomatic relations dictate that DoD seeks Israel's review,” according to documents filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. [Washington Examiner1/8/15]