Janet M. LaRue

President Obama is offended by accusations that the White House authorized leaks of highly classified national security information detailed in Confront and Conceal, a new book by David Sanger of The New York Times. Obama hasn’t denied that leaks occurred.

“The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong," he said during Friday’s press conference.

Media usually call it a “non-denial denial.” The law calls it a “negative pregnant”: a denial of an allegation in which a person actually admits more than he/she denies by denying only a part of the alleged fact.

Does Obama mean that the “notion” is “wrong” because it’s “offensive, or it’s wrong because it didn’t happen?

How does he know apart from an independent investigation of everybody in the White House that has access to classified information? What does he mean by “my White House”? Does it include more than him?

Why isn’t he offended if leaks occurred? If they did, why didn’t he promise that whoever is responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law?

Outrage over leaks goes back to the Osama bin Laden raid. “Shut the f--- up,” is how Robert Gates, former defense secretary, described his “new strategic communications approach” to Tom Donilon, Obama's national security adviser, after the White House disclosed specific details about the raid, according to Sanger’s book.

The controversy heated up on June 2 when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, took to the Senate floor to express outrage at leaks detailed in Sanger’s New York Times article. McCain said the leaks were made to make the President “look good”:


Janet M. LaRue

Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned for Women; Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families. Be the first to read Janet LaRue's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.