Sunday, November 15, 2009


clipped from
When I first came to Washington, and for many years thereafter, I thought leaks were just awful.  How dare they?

One day I discussed this with Richard Helms, then the recently-retired former director of central intelligence and ambassador to Iran.  His answer surprised me.  “Leaks will stop the minute the top people want them to stop,” he said.  How so?  I asked.  “I was ordered several times by a president to find the source of a leak.  We found it every time.  And most of the time it was his secretary of state or secretary of defense, or chief of staff, or some other very important person.  Nothing was ever done.”

Q.E.D.  Leaks of the sort Gates is complaining about–that is, what options are being presented, and which way is the president leaning?– are part of the policy debate, and nobody knows it better than Secretary Gates himself. 
So why is he venting?  If I had to bet, I’d put a small amount down on the square that says “he’s being outleaked.”