Obama's Secret Wars, from The Situation Room to The Front

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

President Obama delivers an address on U.S. policy and the war in Afghanistan during his visit to Bagram Air Base. (Getty)

To be a fly on the wall in The White House Situation Room. To watch as President Obama and his cabinet await news on Osama Bin Laden's compound raid, or plan "Olympic Games," the code name given to an American cyber attack on Iranian nuclear facilities — an attack that went terribly wrong. 

David E. Sanger chronicles these events in his new book, "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power." Offering a behind-the-scenes peak at some of the most concealed moments of Obama's presidency — those involving national security — Sanger reveals a complicated view of America's president, one he says that is more hawkish than most Americans realize.


David Sanger

Produced by:

Zachary Dinerstein

Comments [4]

Sad when bi-partisan legislators are more energetic than celebrity journalists.


Jun. 08 2012 02:59 AM


Why should Ms. Headlee or Mr. Hokenberry conduct an aggressive inquisition of Mr. Sanger? He is not a "mindless" right winger or a believer in a mono-theistic faith - he's the employee of the "paper of record", which happens to be a "partner" with WNYC, as such we can suspend belief and trust that he learned about the "worms" transfer from the laptop of an Iranian nuclear technician's laptop to the World Wide Web by "google-ing" it.
They never lie, and they're always right. (Bring up the Take-a-way Jingle)

Jun. 06 2012 07:13 PM

If he did not get voluntarily-leaked information through White House channels, how else did Sanger get this story? And why the hell didn't The Takeaway ask that question?

Because the next question is, "If the White House is leaking this information to a favored outlet like the New York Times, why are they doing so? What message/image is the Obama campaign trying to project, and why?"

None of those questions (the really important "inside baseball" questions) were asked. Instead, we got a ten-minute infomercial on how Obama is a strong and decisive military leader.

Jun. 06 2012 02:51 PM

The President's expertise, bordering on perspicuity and even sagacity, in the fields of Constitutional Law, Special Forces' operations, computer programming, and "drone" targeting (or "un-targeting") are second to none. His academic writings in these fields demonstrate that.
See, http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/law/using/centbib.pdf

More comforting is Mr. Sanger's confession that it was his own reportorial efforts to form the narrative he proposes, rather than any efforts at self promotion by Obama administration personnel to purchase political popularity at the cost of operational security. Frankly, there is no evidence that there has been any interest in using media for these selfish purposes.
See, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585

Jun. 06 2012 09:33 AM

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