During the US presidential election campaign period last year, Donald Trump was quoted as saying that he loved reading WikiLeaks, which detailed about the private e-mails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that had inadvertently made it public online.
In fact, at that time, he could not get enough of the private e-mails of senior Democrats released by WikiLeaks.
Trump even called on Russia to locate and release emails by his then Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. He said then that if Russia was listening, he hoped that they were able to find the 30,000 emails that were missing.
However, things have change for the 45th President of the US as he is now singing a different tune on leaks from the intelligence community that led to the early resignation of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
The articles cited anonymous officials saying that during the presidential transition, Flynn had been in contact with Russia about the sanctions that had recently been imposed by the Obama administration, reports Politifact.
During a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump lamented that Flynn had been treated very unfairly by the media.
He said that papers and things are being leaked, adding that such are criminal actions. He said that it has been going on for a long time, even before he assumed the US presidency and those who perpetrate it, he describes as low-lifes.
He explained that leaks are now really going on, and people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.
Criticizing leaks and leakers
In another press conference held on the same day, Trump spent time criticizing leaks. He said that the press should be ashamed of themselves for running stories based on leaks.
Critics say that there are some differences between the election leaks and the leaks by the intelligence community. However, experts on national security said that Trump has inconsistent standards on the matter of leaks.
Pressed on the question at his February 16 news conference, Trump drew a distinction between the release of classified information and the release of personal emails.
He explained that in one case, the leaks talk about highly classified information but in the other case, the leaks talk about DNC chairman John Podesta saying bad things about the boss, referring to Hillary Clinton.
In simple terms, during the campaign, Trump praised an organization that made its name by leaking classified information. Now he’s criticizing leaking.
Dead-set against leaking
Robert F. Turner, associate director of the University of Virginia’s Center for National Security Law, said he understands the distinction between leaking classified material and information that is merely private.
He also made clear that he is almost always dead-set against leaking. Regardless of who makes or broadcasts the leak, good people die and freedom is placed in jeopardy, he said.
However, Turner added that it seems clear to him that Russia was trying to influence the outcome of the US election, which he views as a serious national security issue.
If a disgruntled Democratic National Committee official had copied some documents and leaked them, he thinks Trump could have drawn a reasonable distinction between those garden variety disclosures of private information and disclosures derived from classified national security programs that were apparently disclosed by government employees in violation of their security agreements.
Speaking of Michael Flynn, he has a long record in counterintelligence but not in macroeconomics. And he told Trump he didn’t know, that it wasn’t his area of expertise, which is why Trump let him go to find an economist instead.
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s volatile behavior has created an environment ripe for leaks from his executive agencies and even within the White House.
And while leaks typically involve staffers sabotaging each other to improve their own standing or trying to scuttle policy ideas they find genuinely problematic, Trump’s one-month-old administration has a third category: leaks from White House and agency officials are alarmed by the President’s conduct, details The Huffington Post.