Thursday, May 25, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He issued a directive to the Department of Justice to find and prosecute anyone responsible for leaking details of the Manchester bombing.

British authorities were angered that details about the investigation into the Manchester bombing that had been shared with the United States found their way into American media reports before the UK was ready to make them public. Trump's statement said he would order the DOJ to review the matter, saying that "these leaks have been going on for a long time and my administration will get to the bottom of this."

"Leaks" can mean many things, and every administration "leaks" by design to some extent. Almost any news story involving the White House (even in normal presidencies) will be based in part on non-secret information being unofficially revealed or confirmed by government employees speaking on background. However, Trump is correct that his administration is far leakier than most. In many cases, the leaks that have hurt Trump the most have come from the warring factions he has assembled within his own administration.

Nevertheless, the most profligate leaker in the Trump administration is Trump himself. In the past few weeks, Trump gave highly specific details of an anti-ISIS Israeli intelligence operation to the Russian government, then compounded the error by publicly confirming that Israel was the source. He also reportedly revealed information about American nuclear submarines patrolling near North Korea in a recent conversation with Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines--who promptly leaked the transcript.


  • Presidents who cannot be trusted with their allies' sensitive information will stop getting it.