INTELLIGENCE FLAP – AT 9:05 A.M. ET: Another boiling scandal involves the dangerous leaking of information about an operation to stop a planned terrorist attack on airliners, a plot originating in Yemen.
The plot was disrupted, but there's a seething anger in intelligence circles, both here and abroad, about the Obama administration's using the event for political gain...even though the real work was carried out by Britain, which fears that some of its most valued intelligence assets have been blown in order to serve the political interests of the president of the United States. Andrew Malcolm, in Investor's Business Daily, has the story:
Here's a disturbing update to last week's amazing story about the U.S. mole who infiltrated al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and thwarted an airliner attack with a more sophisticated underwear bomb.
Someone in Washington whose boss stood to gain from an election year story about alert intelligence operatives successfully protecting American voters at great personal risk leaked the heroic story to the Associated Press. The AP held the story until Obama administration sources said the CIA operative was safe.
But, it turns out, the mole was not a CIA operative. The Obama administration had nothing to do with the operation and, in fact, didn't even know about it until recently. Somehow such details got lost in all the excited espionage news coverage about the bomb that didn't go off.
The sting was, in reality, an operation by Britain's MI6 intelligence service. It used a Yemeni native with dual British and Saudi citizenship with the cooperation of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service.
And the folks overseas who actually conceived and executed the risky work are none too happy about their loose-lipped American cousins trying to bolster someone's domestic political standing by leaking the story prematurely, destroying the agent's cover and future usefulness. And possibly betraying that agent's contacts within Yemen.
Without the excited U.S. news coverage, the agent, who reportedly did escape safely once word was flashed about the impending AP leak story, could have still been providing further intelligence on the location of al Qaeda leaders in Yemen, which resulted in only one successful drone strike before word got out, resulting in the explosive demise of senior leader Fahd al-Quso.
Congressional investigations of the leak are already planned, but you can be sure the administration will stonewall, citing the need for secrecy and sensitivity.
The use of highly classified information for political gain is reprehensible. There are credible reports that the Obamans did the same thing in the aftermath of the Osama bin Laden raid as well. They are no better in this regard than newspapers that print official, properly held secrets, endangering American lives, on the grounds of "the people's right to know." A certain newspaper in New York comes to mind.
May 15, 2012