By Jeremy Herb and Carlo Munoz - 06/05/12 10:42 PM EDT
Before the GOP senators had taken to the Senate floor to call for an investigation, there was a report in The Wall Street Journal that the FBI had already opened its own probe into the leaks.
The FBI investigation and the Senate hearings — and can the GOP-led House Armed Services Committee be far behind? — mean that Obama administration national security leaks are going to remain in the spotlight for the foreseeable future.
But senior Senate Democrats rejected that charge Tuesday, while still expressing their serious concerns about the national security implications of the leaks. “I just cannot believe that,” Levin said. “That’s hard for me to believe,” said Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Not all Republicans took as strong a line as McCain on the political accusations, as Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) took the more diplomatic route of saying that she "would hope" that political calculations weren't involved, and she wanted that question to be answered.
The White House has denied that the leak to the Times was authorized, but the level of detail included in the story — which includes a quote from Obama in a 2010 meeting about continuing the program — indicates that the sources for the story were not just low-level officials.
Money well spent?: A week ago, three separate DOD reports claimed Afghan security forces weren't getting the weapons and equipment they need from American contractors. Millions of American taxpayer dollars were slipping through the numerous cracks in the U.S. government's contracting system — and now Congress wants to know why. Top officials from the Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Agency for International Aid will try to explain to the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations subcommittee on Wednesday why Afghans are not getting what they need from the United States. Committee Chairman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) has had a long, colorful and contentious history dealing with issues in Afghanistan. We will have to see if that carries over into the hearing.
Korea's future: Now that it's clear American special forces are not parachuting into North Korea to secretly spy on its military, what else is in store for the growing U.S.-Korea relationship on the peninsula? Members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific plan to press the State Department chief responsible for the region on that specific issue. Former National Security Council Director for Asian Affairs Victor Cha will also weigh in during the Wednesday hearing.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spent the better part of last week shoring up regional support for the White House's new Pacific-centric national security strategy. That shift of American military might from the Mideast to Asia was designed in part to counter threats from China and North Korea. Seoul is on the front lines of that fight — how the U.S. plans to work South Korea now and into the future could play a huge role in whether the administration's military shift will be a success.
Turner goes ballistic: Rep. Michael Turner, the House Republicans’ poster boy for “secret deals” with Moscow and domestic missile shields, will take the podium at the Air Force Association's Seminar on Nuclear Deterrence and Missile Defense at the Capitol Hill Club on Thursday. Turner (R-Ohio), along with fellow missile defense enthusiast Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), has repeatedly hammered President Obama for telling Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" on European missile defense after the 2012 election.
House members and Capitol Hill reporters alike haven't heard the end of it since. Let's hope that Turner keeps an eye on the microphone during his AFA speech, lest the media in attendance find out about a secret missile deal being hatched by Republicans.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
— Senate Dems blast national security leaks
— U.S., Pakistan continue to talk supply lines
— U.S. drones take out al Qaeda No. 2 commander
— Northrop eyes Canada to sell drones
— General who made North Korea spy comments replaced
— Kyl offers Law of the Sea compromise
Please send tips and comments to Jeremy Herb, email@example.com, and Carlo Munoz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow us on Twitter: @DEFCONHill, @JHerbTheHill, @CMunozTheHill