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Obama angry about leaks on Afghan policy, 'absolutely' a firing offense

November 18, 2009 |  7:57 am

In a round of interviews before he left China, President Obama made clear that he was not happy with sources within his administration who had leaked details about his deliberations on Afghanistan.

"For people to be releasing information during the course of deliberations, where we haven't made final decisions yet, I think is not appropriate," he said.

CBS' Chip Reid asked the president if he was as angry as Defense Secretary Robert Gates about the leaks.

"I think I'm angrier than Bob Gates about it," he replied. "We have deliberations in the situation room for a reason; we're making life-and-death decisions that affect how our troops are able to operate in a theater of war. For people to be releasing info in the course of deliberations is not appropriate."

"A firing offense?" Reid inquired.

"Absolutely," Mr. Obama responded. 

And, in an interview with CNN, Obama promised to end the war in Afghanistan before he leaves office. 

"My preference would be not to hand off anything to the next president," he said. Perhaps thinking of the full plate that was left to him by President Bush, Obama added, "One of the things I'd like is the next president to be able to come in and say I've got a clean slate." 

Pledging to announce his decision with transparency, Obama said, "The American people will have a lot of clarity about what we're doing, how we're going to succeed, how much this thing is going to cost, what kind of burden does this place on our young men and women in uniform and, most importantly, what's the endgame on this thing." 

 -- Johanna Neuman

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