Inside the Ring: Summit shortcomings

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The study argues that young military personnel and intelligence officers increasingly are influenced by liberal government officials and liberal media that often denigrate patriotism and foster a lax security environment that is making it difficult to train people on the importance of keeping secrets and protecting U.S. security.

The author of the unclassified report is a clinical psychologist who stated that one key reason for major leaks of classified information — such as the case of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who disclosed more than 200,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks — is a lack of positive role models and an American culture that lacks a focus on personal sense of duty and love of country.

The conclusion: There will be more WikiLeaks-like disclosures.

The Defense Department report was written before Sunday’s disclosure by Edward Snowden, a National Security Agency contractor with a high-level security clearance who exposed sensitive electronic intelligence programs to a newspaper in reaction to what he claimed are government abuses.

Based on interviews, the report’s author found that a major reason for the poor security consciousness among the young results in part from a liberal onslaught against President George W. Bush and the political opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Frequent appearances by retired generals and admirals on CNN attacking Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other Republican national security leaders also contributed to the problem, said an official familiar with the report.

“In this atmosphere, young kids develop a mindset that by leaking classified data, they’re heroes and they are doing what the real leaders of our country want them to do,” the official said.

The problem is compounded by a lack of patriotic education in schools and within government. The study found that a large percentage of people in their 20s expressed doubts about whether senior U.S. leaders are on the correct policy path.

“The thrust was that people are being inundated with negative information that reinforces the notion that people can go above the law by providing large amounts of classified information to left-wing media,” the official said.

ARMY MISSION CHANGE?

A senior Army officer who recently underwent command training was surprised during one briefing. The officer was told that “stopping sexual assaults is THE primary mission of the Army.”

The surprised officer said it was his belief that the Army’s mission is based on the Constitution, which says the government shall “provide for the common defense.”

The course instructor told those in attendance that the message is contained in a “mission statement” from Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff.

The military services have been hammered in recent weeks by allegations of sexual assaults and charges that commanders failed to respond properly to the crimes. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called the problem a “crisis” for the military.

Critics in Congress, led by feminist senators and liberal supporters in the news media, are pressing the military for changes in how sexual offenders are prosecuted. They want more restrictions on commanders’ authority and are seeking legislation that would require sexual assaults to be prosecuted outside the military’s chain of command, something the military leadership opposes.

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

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