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November 13, 2010

Sec. Gates Orders Leak Probe

He wants to know just who leaked the findings of the DOD 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' report to the Washington Post.

Gates is angry that two unnamed officials cited in the Post article have “selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings” of the Pentagon’s Working Group, according to a statement released late Friday afternoon by Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.

“The secretary strongly condemns the unauthorized release of information related to this report and has directed an investigation to establish who communicated with The Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of department policy and his specific instruction.”

He's got a point. Whoever is leaking is trying to alter military policy while bypassing Gates, the service chiefs, and the President. Not to mention, Gates told Congress he'd conduct the working group study in a professional, nonpartisan, and unbiased manner.

The major surprise finding of the report, based on the leak anyway, is that the troops are basically okay with repeal, with the Marines expressing the most opposition (40%). But I was struck by this weaselly paragraph in the original WaPo story:

The source declined to state his position on whether to lift the ban, insisting it did not matter. He said he felt compelled to share the information out of concern that groups opposed to ending the ban would mischaracterize the findings. The long, detailed and nuanced report will almost certainly be used by opponents and supporters of repeal legislation to bolster their positions in what is likely to be a heated and partisan congressional debate.

The final sentence of that excerpt makes me think that this fellow might also be "mischaracterizing" the findings. Obviously the conclusions in the report are more complicated than just a thumbs up or a thumbs down on repeal. The report is due December 1, but Congress will be just wrapping up then (and likely to have other more important things on its mind, like the ObamaCare 1099 issue, the tax cuts, and the budget). So the leakers moved first.

Gates doesn't exactly have clean hands, though: Should have mentioned this above, this protest by Sec. Gates could just be pro forma to cover his own ass with Congress. As I wrote, he told Congress he'd wait on the results of the working group study. And yet, just last week it wasn't unnamed sources suggesting to major media that DADT should be repealed in the lame duck session. It was Gates.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 09:12 AM

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