Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod insisted he is confident that newly launched investigations will show that recent leaks on classified national security information did not come from the White House.
"I think the authors of all of this work have said that the White House was not the source of this information," Axelrod told me this morning on "This Week." "I can't say that there weren't leaks. There were obvious leaks, but they weren't from the White House."
Axelrod said Obama takes all "life or death decisions" on national security seriously, and that the White House would not leak information that may jeopardize classified operations.
"He understands that when he commits people to missions that their lives are at stake, and the safety of Americans are at stake," Axelrod said. "And the last thing that he would countenance or anybody around him would countenance are leaks that would jeopardize the security of Americans on these secret missions, and the success of those missions."
Both Republicans and Democrats have accused the White House of releasing details of various secret operations, including the effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, for political purposes in order to bolster President Obama's national security credentials before the election.
President Obama disputed that charge Friday at a White House press conference, saying, "The notion that my White House would purposefully release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong."
Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that two federal prosecutors would lead investigations into the leaks to news outlets, including The New York Times.
When I asked if he was confident the investigations would not show White House involvement, Axelrod said "Yes," citing the administration's history of cracking down on leaks.
"We have come under attack because we have been tougher on leaks than any administration in recent history And we have been criticized for that," Axelrod said. "We want to make sure that the people we assign to these very difficult tasks are safe, or as safe as they can be."
- Politics & Government
- David Axelrod
- the White House
- President Obama