The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Remarks by the President
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
10:40 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I just want to say a few words about the economy, and then I will take some of your questions.[...]
All right. David Jackson.
Q Thank you, sir. There are a couple of books out with, essentially, details about national security issues. There are reports of terrorist kill lists that you supervise and there are reports of cyber-attacks on the Iranian nuclear program that you ordered. Two things. First of all, what's your reaction of this information getting out in public? And secondly, what's your reaction to lawmakers who accuse your team of leaking these details in order to promote your reelection bid?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I'm not going to comment on the details of what are supposed to be classified items. Second, as Commander-in-Chief, the issues that you have mentioned touch on our national security, touch on critical issues of war and peace, and they're classified for a reason -- because they're sensitive and because the people involved may, in some cases, be in danger if they're carrying out some of these missions. And when this information, or reports, whether true or false, surface on the front page of newspapers, that makes the job of folks on the front lines tougher and it makes my job tougher -- which is why since I've been in office, my attitude has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation.
Now, we have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences. In some cases, it's criminal -- these are criminal acts when they release information like this. And we will conduct thorough investigations, as we have in the past.
The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong. And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office.
We're dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the American people, our families, or our military personnel, or our allies. And so we don't play with that. And it is a source of consistent frustration, not just for my administration but for previous administrations, when this stuff happens. And we will continue to let everybody know in government, or after they leave government, that they have certain obligations that they should carry out.
But as I think has been indicated from these articles, whether or not the information they've received is true, the writers of these articles have all stated unequivocally that they didn't come from this White House. And that's not how we operate.
Q Are there leak investigations going on now -- is that what you're saying?
THE PRESIDENT: What I'm saying is, is that we consistently, whenever there is classified information that is put out into the public, we try to find out where that came from.
Okay? Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
11:09 A.M. EDT