Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a striking admission today. In an interview with CBS’ Norah O’Donnell, Panetta threatened legal action against the Navy SEAL who wrote, under a pen name, about the raid that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden. Panetta said that any sanctions against the SEAL, who wrote No Easy Day under the name Mark Owen, would be intended to send a message that others entrusted with national security secrets should not divulge what they know.That should save any money being set aside for lengthy investigation into the identity of the leaker.
O’Donnell then asked Panetta a direct question: What’s the difference between what the SEAL did and the leaks that have come from the administration to journalists and filmmakers? Panetta spun: “There’s a fundamental difference. The people that presented some of the details of the operations were authorized to do that by the president of the United States, who has that authority to do that, and inform the American people as to what happened. In this case, that was not the case. And that’s the difference.”