Greg Hengler scoffs at the explanation given by Robert Gibbs as to why Barack Obama has not yet personally responded to the Wikileaks exposure, but I think Obama may be playing it smart by keeping his mouth shut. Put aside, for the moment, the trouble Obama generated for himself when wading into law enforcement matters without informing himself of the salient facts. This is a question of punching below the weight of POTUS, and the legitimacy it lends to Julian Assange:

Is this really the worst security breach in the history of the US?  I’d beg to differ.  Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, and John Walker did a lot more damage to American security than Assange could possibly fantasize.  The damage in these leaks have mainly been to the Obama administration’s ego and to its public image, with secondary — and almost certainly temporary — damage to diplomacy in the long run.

Why give Assange added stature by having Obama speak about Wikileaks personally?  It won’t add anything that we don’t already know about the administration’s response, although it would be interesting to see a press conference or interview question for Obama on why it took the third round of leaks to begin pursuing a criminal investigation into Assange.  The President of the US should not put himself in the position of debating a computer hacker on the hacker’s terms, or for that matter, a radio talk-show host or a political activist like Karl Rove, either.  If Obama has learned the folly of punching below his weight, that seems like a good development to me.

Tags: Barack Obama