All of this detail -- especially the role played by Saudi Arabia -- gives invaluable information on "sources and methods" that are the basis of all good intelligence work. Newspaper reports have also pinpointed when the double agent was taken out of the country by noting that drone attacks took out a Yemini terrorist right afterwards.
Some stories have hinted that the plot had to be interrupted earlier than planned because of news leaks that jeopardized the double agent's life. But they have also suggested that several other agents remain inside AQAP. Does anyone care that these valuable assets have been jeopardized by the amount of information leaked to the media?
The administration has launched an investigation into how the leaks occurred. But such investigations rarely uncover the culprits. Look what happened in the Bush years when an exhaustive investigation and prosecutions accused White House official "Scooter" Libby of leaking the name of CIA covert operative Valerie Plame to journalists. Though convicted, Libby turned out not to be the source of the leak. Instead, Richard Armitage, who had served in several administrations and was a favorite of the media, was the person who leaked Plame's name and blew her cover.
In the Plame case, she and her husband, former diplomat Joe Wilson, ended up making money and gaining notoriety, becoming minor celebrities. The current leaks will make no one rich or famous, however. Instead, lives will likely be sacrificed.
There was an old saying in World War II: Loose lips sink ships. The warning could never be more apt than in this case.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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