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Inside the Ring: NSA under Reagan
In light of the award-winning story, Inside the Ring notes with great interest that John O. Brennan, the former White House counterterrorism adviser who is now CIA director, disclosed under questioning during his Senate confirmation hearing this year that he, too, had briefed news commentators on various national security issues.
Mr. Brennan made the disclosure in stating that he had worked with the Justice Department during a leak investigation. He asserted that he never disclosed classified information in his briefings to former government officials who had become television news commentators.
It also was disclosed later that commentators for MSNBC, the liberal cable news channel, were frequent guests at the White House for such briefings.
President Obama joked about the close ties between MSNBC and the White House during his April 27 speech at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, when he remarked that former adviser David Axelrod had been hired by the cable outlet.
“Some of my former advisers have switched over to the dark side,” Mr. Obama said. “For example, David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”
Mr. Brennan’s briefing of former officials turned news commentators sounds very similar to what Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld did when he and his public affairs officers launched the briefing program.
The New York Times so far has not devoted its investigative reporting resources to looking into the Brennan briefings.
Inside the Ring would like to send this message to The Times: Mr. Brennan has given you fodder for another Pulitzer.
REAGAN ON NUKE DETERRENCE
A portion of President Ronald Reagan’s personal diary that was cut from the 2009 publication of his unabridged diaries recently was made public by the private National Security Archive.
It shows the president understood the value of deterrence in the face of nuclear threats.
The declassified Oct. 10, 1983, diary entry outlines Reagan’s reaction to an advanced screening of the ABC drama “The Day After,” held at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md. The show dramatized the devastating effects of a Soviet nuclear strike on the town of Lawrence, Kan.
“It is powerfully done — all $7 mil. worth,” Reagan wrote. “It’s very effective & left me greatly depressed.”
The president went on to note that he could not say whether the propagandistic drama would be “of help to the anti-nukes” movement that was active at the time and was later found to have been supported by Soviet intelligence and propaganda organs.
“My own reaction was one of our having to do all we can to have a deterrent & to see there is never a nuclear war,” Reagan wrote, adding “Back to W.H.”
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About the Author
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.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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