Not only did former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta leak the name of the Navy SEAL group responsible for the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, but the release of the Pentagon Inspector General’s (IG) report revealing the incident, which was ready in July 2012, was delayed until now.
In the spring of 2012, GOP members accused Barack Obama’s administration of leaking national security secrets to help Obama get reelected, but the administration denied it.
At a CIA awards ceremony on June 24, 2011, Panetta named the SEAL group and its commander. Among those present were 1300 military and intelligence employees, as well as Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal. The IG report also stated that Panetta revealed classified information designated as “top secret” and “secret.”
Panetta served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency until July 1, 2011, when he took over the office of the Secretary of Defense for the retiring Robert Gates. Panetta was in charge of the Department of Defense when the DOD’s IG investigation into leaks about the bin Laden raid was being conducted.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who initially asked for the Inspector General’s review, commented on the delay in the release of the report:
It does raise issues about a lack of security at the CIA and at DOD. The most important issue right now is why this report was held back for so long. Inspectors general are supposed to be independent. It’s the integrity of the process… It’s important to know where that pressure [to withhold it] was coming from… I’ve been hearing at least since January that this report was final and that it could affect some high ranking people, some high ranking officials.
According to Politico, a source claimed the DOD IG report was essentially complete in July 2012, and its findings could have been politically significant. But an IG spokeswoman said at the time that “no release date has yet been determined.” Later in December, the same spokeswoman claimed, “The assessment report our staff is preparing in response to the congressional request from Rep. King has not yet been completed, so there is no update at this time.”