Enraged Rumsfeld Calls For Help
To Find Iraq Invasion Plan Leak

By Charles Aldinger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A visibly angry Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Monday called on Pentagon workers to help catch and jail a defense official who leaked an alleged U.S. plan to invade Iraq to The New York Times.
"It's inexcusable. And they ought to be in jail," Rumsfeld told reporters at a news briefing when asked about a recent report in the newspaper detailing a contingency proposal for a possible major American ground and air invasion of Iraq.
Rumsfeld said he and his top advisers had never seen the plan in question, but confirmed that he had ordered a formal investigation -- which will be handled by an Air Force team -- into who provided any top secret information to the newspaper.
"I am pleased I did. And I will say one more thing: I hope that if there is anyone in the Department of Defense who knows who did that, that they will give someone in a position of responsibility that information. Because they have every bit as big an obligation to do that as they do not to release it in the first place," he said.
Pressed on continuing reports that the United States was drawing up military plans for a possible attempt to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, whom Washington accuses of developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Rumsfeld refused to provide any details.
But the secretary, raising his voice in anger, stressed that leaks of any war plans any time could put U.S. troops in danger and were a violation of federal law.
"I think that anyone who has a position where they touch a war plan has an obligation to not leak it to the press or anybody else," said the secretary, who has repeatedly lashed out at national security leaks since he took the top Pentagon job last year for the second time in 25 years.
"Because it (the leak) kills people. People's lives will be lost. If people start treating war plans like they are paper airplanes and they can fly them around this building and throw them at anybody who wants them, I think it is outrageous.
Rumsfeld, 70, warned the Pentagon's top brass in a memorandum released last week that media leaks were helping al Qaeda operatives learn more about the U.S. war on terrorism and putting American lives at risk.
Rumsfeld's note was addressed to a long roster of top officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers and the secretaries of the various military departments.
"Your leadership is needed to help stop leaks," he wrote. "Please meet with your staff to discuss the seriousness of the damaging lack of professionalism we continue to see on a daily basis."
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