The question du jour in Washington is who leaked Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s report advocating an increased troop presence in Afghanistan to Bob Woodward, Ben Smith writes on Politico. But the outcome of this tried and true “capital parlor game” is far from certain. Some Beltway insiders think the leak is a coup for the Pentagon, while others believe it can’t but help the White House. And without a clear motive, all bets are off.
While some believe the leak adds urgency to McChyrstal’s push for more boots on the ground, others think the appearance of strong military opinion will actually take some pressure off the president as critical supporters more fully understand his situation. It could be evidence of a deep internal rift at the White House—or just some official looking for a plum spot in Woodward’s next book. The only clear lesson, Smith writes, is that “the celebrated Washington Post reporter has penetrated yet another administration.”