It was just about this time one year ago when the AP reported on the successful thwarting by U.S. intelligence of the "new underwear bomb" plot.
The AP reported in May (2012) that the CIA had "thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner" using "an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009."
Fox News, June 7, 2012.....enter the Huckleberry...
"In the last 30 to 45 days there have been three stories with White House officials confirming these stories. One has to do with the disruptive plot involving a new underwear bomber technique where they had an agent inside an al-Qaeda cell that was able to expose the new technology. That's like big time classified....
You talk about a double agent having ties to Saudi Arabia and Britiain...so that's made our relationship with Great Britain much more difficult because they don't want to read about us giving them help in the NY Times.
We're going to have an investigation about how did these stories get out of the White House. These are very detailed stories."
Huckleberry there and 30 other Republicans at the time sent a letter to the White House demanding a full investigation into these alleged leaks.
“The numerous national-security leaks reportedly originating out of the executive branch in recent months have been stunning,” they wrote to Holder.
“If true, they reveal details of some of our nation’s most highly classified and sensitive military and intelligence matters, thereby risking our national security, as well as the lives of American citizens and our allies. If there were ever a case requiring an outside special counsel with bipartisan acceptance and widespread public trust, this is it,” they wrote.
Republicans saw those leaked stories as having been done purposely by the Obama White House to polish up his tough-on-terror credentials leading up to the November 2012 election. One thing Republicans hate (while their presidents play dress up on Mission Accomplished aircraft carriers) is Democratic presidents taking credit for any accomplishments, foreign or domestic.
A year ago, Republicans wanted an "outside special counsel" appointed, like, immediately. Republicans, sober and serious Republicans, insisted on finding out the source of those leaks.
As we now know, the White House had already begun investigating the leak of the new underwear bomb story before Republicans typed up their letter to the president. It was the Associated Press who was leaked to by someone on the inside. After investigators had interviewed some 550 people, including Obama administration officials, without any luck.....the Justice Department issued subpoenas for the phone call records of 5 AP journalists. The purpose was not to eventually charge journalists with a crime but to obtain the identity of the leaker, who had committed the crime of exposing highly classified material to the AP.
Reporting on leaked classified material is not a criminal action but leaking classified material is.
The point here is that dozens of leading Republicans one year ago wanted to find out who leaked the new underwear bomber account to the AP. Today, Republicans are arguing over whether to appoint a "special counsel" to investigate President Obama for "secretly targeting patriotic Americans....exercising their first amendment rights" in the course of the investigation they called for.
Just to keep this all straight. One year ago this month the AP ran the new underwear bomber story. Republicans reacted to the story's release as a huge national security, leaked-classified-material crisis which demanded the immediate appointment of a special counsel to uncover the identity of the traitorous leaker. Today, Republicans want to appoint a special counsel to investigate the investigation that they loudly called for last year.....and are defending the AP vehicle through which the leaked material traveled.
Times' Michael Crowley points out the obvious....
"...conservatives are now in the odd position of implicitly defending the media’s rights against the imperative of national security secrecy, a cause that didn’t interest them much when the FBI sought media phone records during the Bush years."
One final point. What we're hearing from many disingenuous Republicans is that the Obama administration, in following through on Republican demands to investigate who leaked the new underwear bomber story, was actually "targeting" journalists for punishment and thus sending a "chilling effect" throughout the patriotic "whistle blowing" corporate journalist community.
The AP was not whistle blowing when they were leaked classified information about the new underwear bomber plot......they were preparing a "gotcha" piece against Obama and his press secretary Tim Carney who, AP writers (having already been leaked the story) believed had lied about foreknowledge of any terrorist plots planned for the anniversary of Bin Laden's death. From the original AP story....
The operation unfolded even as the White House and department of homeland security assured the American public that they knew of no al-Qaida plots against the US around the anniversary of bin Laden's death.
Meanwhile, the original leaker has still not been identified.