One of the biggest books to come out yet about the Obama administration has been "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power." Beyond the myriad scoops, the book has prompted a debate in Washington about leaks, specifically, the one about President Obama approving and accelerating the use of cyber war against Iran to stop its nuclear program.
"It is so Washington that the argument is not about the American use of a new weapon, whose utility is as broad as the drone or the intercontinental missile," said David Sanger, author and the New York Times' chief White House correspondent. "Washington spent most of the last week debating the question of who leaked the fact America uses this weapon."
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told ABC's This Week that cyber attacks, cyber spying, are "acts of war," begging the question -- has the United States declared war on Iran with this cyber code - this cyber attack on their nuclear program?
"I don't know," said Sanger. "That was one of the reasons it was very important to get out and begin to discuss the fact that the United States uses cyber weapons as well, because we need a big debate within the U.S. on how you use this weapon."
Sanger's book also details how the Obama administration handled a bomb scare from a Taliban faction in Pakistan, and what they learned from the experience. Around the same time, the president fielded one last phone call from the former President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.
"President Mubarak says to president Obama, 'Give me 10 days. President Nasser, 40 years before, put down an uprising like this, I can too.' It was code word for give me a few days, I can kill everyone in the streets and drive them out of the streets and I'll be back in control then," said Sanger.
Check out this week's Political Punch to hear how Obama responded to Mubarak, and for more on the "remarkable effort" to hunt down Osama bin Laden.
- Politics & Government
- Foreign Policy
- President Obama
- David Sanger