Remember? Obama So Paranoid Over White House Leaks He Used Invasive Procedure on Staffers


Apparently, the president being against leaks is now not only unpatriotic but a sign that he’s a paranoiac — at least, so long as Donald Trump is in the White House.

Axios reported Thursday that because of the leaks — including ones which found their way into a Bob Woodward book and a New York Times Op-Ed — Trump had become an “increasingly conspiracy-minded president.”

“He would basically be like, ‘We’ve gotta get rid of them. The snakes are everywhere but we’re getting rid of them,'” one source said.

“Trump would often ask staff whom they thought could be trusted. He often asks the people who work for him what they think about their colleagues, which can be not only be uncomfortable but confusing to Trump: Rival staffers shoot at each other and Trump is left not knowing who to believe,” Axios reported.

“When he was super frustrated about the leaks, he would rail about the ‘snakes’ in the White House,” a source said.

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“One day, after one of those meetings, he said, ‘Everything that just happened is going to leak. I don’t know any of those people in the room.’ … He was very paranoid about this.”

Wow, horrifying. I wonder what would happen if anyone else did this. Say, Barack Obama.

Because of course he did this, and of course the answer was “nothing.”

Yet, the Obama administration prosecuted leakers and gave staffers lie detector tests, as the Washington Examiner reminds us. In fact, the whole thing had to be reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists, whose 2013 report received almost none of the kind of play that Trump’s “paranoia” is getting these days.

Do you think the Obama administration was paranoid about leaks?

“U.S. President Barack Obama came into office pledging open government, but he has fallen short of his promise. Journalists and transparency advocates say the White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press,” the report said. “Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists.”

“This is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered,” said David E. Sanger, longtime chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times.

The administration called its efforts against leaks the “Insider Threat Program” and implemented plenty of invasive methods to stop it.

“The Insider Threat Program being implemented throughout the Obama administration to stop leaks — first detailed by the McClatchy newspapers’ Washington bureau in late June — has already ‘created internal surveillance, heightened a degree of paranoia in government and made people conscious of contacts with the public, advocates, and the press,’ said a prominent transparency advocate, Steven Aftergood, director of the Government Secrecy Project at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington,” the report said.

This included lie detector tests.

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“The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, announced on June 25, 2012, his own internal steps to stem leaks,” the report said.

“Employees of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies — including the CIA, NSA, FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency — would be asked during routine polygraph examinations whether they had disclosed any classified information to anyone. And the new inspector general for the Intelligence Community, with jurisdiction over all its agencies, would investigate leak cases that had not produced prosecutions by the Justice Department to determine what alternative action should be taken.”

A contemporaneous article from USA Today said the report “portrays an administration gripped by strict policies about information flow and paranoid about leaks across all executive branch departments.”

Yet today? Nothing.

But the paranoid one is Donald Trump. Right.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture