The investigation into the national security leaks hasn’t even begun yet Fox News has already decided the Obama administration is guilty. But now, thanks to the unsubstantiated theory of Pat “I play a Democrat on Fox News TV” Caddell, Fox is fingering National Security Advisor Tom Donilon as the leaker. And for Hannity, that’s reason enough to accuse Obama of being at the heart of it all.
Although it’s hard to imagine any Fox News Democrat could be more of a turncoat than Doug Schoen, Caddell fits the bill. As Media Matters noted in 2004, “Caddell’s harsh criticism of Democrats and questionable allegiance to the Democratic Party have been evident for more than a decade.” In addition to all his attacks on Democrats on Fox, Media Matters documents that Caddell also voted for Ralph Nader, not Al Gore, in 2000; he worked on the 2002 California gubernatorial campaign of former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan and loathed former President Bill Clinton.
But yesterday, Caddell announced that he thinks it’s likely that National Security Advisor Tom Donilon is the likely leaker of intelligence – and guess who’s all ears and used it as "inside" evidence of President Obama's complicity?
Sean Hannity announced enthusiastically, “Democratic insider Pat Caddell is pulling no punches and naming names. He says he knows exactly who spoke to the New York Times and it is somebody with extremely close ties to President Obama.”
Well, not exactly. Although Caddell did say on video, “the culprit is clear. It’s Tom Donilon, the National Security Advisor” and went on to call him “a political hack” who is known in Washington as “the leaker in chief,” he had to walk it back and tell the Hannity viewers that he didn’t really know who's the culprit, he just felt certain it's Donilon.
Hannity, meanwhile, had already jumped the gun by saying, “Caddell’s allegation is critical to this investigation” and because of that “allegation,” “We may ultimately find out that the President himself was the one who in fact authorized the release of this highly classified information.”
Why wait for facts when you’ve got theories?
“I didn’t say I definitively know. I said definitively who it was,” Caddell told Hannity, as two-time voter-fraud suspect Ann Coulter giggled off camera. Presumably, Coulter was there as "balance" to the "Democratic insider."
Caddell cited the fact that David Sanger, New York Times reporter and author of the book Confront and Conceal, reportedly “enjoyed great access” to “the hero of the book” Donilon and the fact that Robert Gates had suggested Donilon couldn't keep his mouth shut.
Wearing a dress so skimpy on top it looked designed for a wardrobe malfunction, Coulter said she thought it didn’t matter who the leaker was because the point was, it came from the Obama White House.
“Let me tell you something about the President,” “insider” Caddell said and he went on to accuse Obama of not having contacted “his New York Times” and asking them not to print the secrets. “Is there any evidence whatsoever the President said (that)? …If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” Of course, there’s no evidence Obama didn't contact the Times, either.
But Hannity hadn’t looked that happy since he thought President Obama would be impeached over Sestak-gate. “This is important!” Hannity declared excitedly. Later, he asked his “very key” question, “How big does this get? …If in fact the President and his team or within his administration are leaking information that is putting people’s lives in jeopardy, just to make him look good in an election year, because that’s what this allegation is?”
Coulter said it’s “HUGE” but that the word would only get out through shows like Hannity.
One thing is certain, Hannity will do his best to make it as HUGE as possible – with or without the facts behind him.
You don’t think that SEAL Team 6 Members don’t face danger every day of their deployments? The President thanking a military team for their action is not only appropriate, but necessary. Had he not thanked them, the GOP and Fox News would have been even nastier toward him in terms of saying he was taking the credit that should have gone to that team.
We’ll see whether Donilon has to deal with any of this. You’re assuming that the Fox News assumptions are facts, and that’s an unfortunate road to go down.
As for the Valerie Plame matter, it was very much not a sham. It was an unintended consequence of the CIA’s overreaction to the books of John Stockwell and Philip Agee in the 1970s, where those guys named names and made public confessions of their activities in intelligence. Afterward, doing such a thing – leaking deliberately – was classified as a crime.
Flash forward to the GW Bush Admin, where the guys on top became very displeased with Joe Wilson publicly challenging their assertions. As punishment, they orchestrated a leak to multiple papers, deliberately exposing Plame, who was not publicly known to be a NOC. The result was that any work she was doing had to be stopped and her CIA career was effectively ended. That’s not to count the number of her associates whose lives were endangered because of this. The reason Armitage wasn’t prosecuted was because he wasn’t the one who obstructed the investigation. According to all sources, Armitage cooperated with Patrick Fitzgerald at every turn. Scooter Libby, on the other hand, committed perjury in an attempt to keep Fitzgerald from getting any higher in the food chain. Had Libby not lied, the trail was clearly headed toward Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. Libby was a good soldier, and has been rewarded with plenty of conservative support ever since he was essentially bailed out of jail by GW Bush on his way out of office.
The Plame matter was not the same thing as this one. The Plame matter was an issue of deliberately endangering people in retaliation for saying the wrong thing in public. The current matter is just a question of finding out who’s sharing too much information about operations – not about who’s trying to get a specific operative outed. And there is no indication of a motive here, whereas with the Bush Admin, there was a big and obvious one.
There’s the “Fast & Furious” DOJ story – which is really about an idea that fizzled between the Bush and Obama DOJs. The GOP makes a bunch of hay out of this about once every three weeks to a month to harrass and distract Eric Holder from other business, and occasionally rattles the contempt saber. Of course, there’s no mention of this being a revenge investigation over the contempt vote against Bush Admin people over the way the prosecutors were fired.
There’s the Joe Sestak matter, where the GOP was sure they could make hay out of a Dem being asked to step back from a race. Except that it turns out the request was made by Bill Clinton, who isn’t in office and isn’t a member of the Obama Admin. And the GOP conveniently forgets about a GOP politician in California being asked to do the same thing by the Reagan Admin.
There’s the Solyndra story – about a company that Bush wanted to fund, and Obama did fund, as part of the move toward alternative energy. When the company gets undercut by Chinese competitors and winds up going under, the GOP tries to stir it into a giant scandal. Of course, there’s no mention of any of the other companies where the federal government has provided aid, subsidies or tax breaks only to see the companies fail. And there’s no mention of all the money lost to contractors, some clearly tied to members of the Bush Admin.
And now we have this leak “story”. Not much to it – just a thought that someone was talking too much to reporters. This is nothing next to the leaks that happened under Wikileaks, but somehow it’s a big deal because the GOP wants to paint this as being orchestrated right out of the Oval Office. Even though the Obama Admin is very pleased with their foreign policy record and is standing on what is already out there in public. One has to wonder who would want to leak the information – could it be someone who wants to embarass the Obama Admin? Along the lines of the former Bush Admin guy at Justice who tried to generate the fake story about the Black Panthers?
These are all rather silly attempts to distract the public and harass the current presidential administration. And they are indications that the GOP doesn’t have anything more substantive to discuss – which is a bit of an ominous sign for them come September. What’s Romney going to talk about in the debates? Rumors and Gossip?