A few weeks ago, when I wrote about how we should love leaks from the executive branch, I allowed that there were occasional cases where it’s good for the administration to avoid leaking (non-classified) information. It was a throwaway observation, and I couldn’t think of a non-hypothetical example, but the Leon Panetta kerfluffle illustrates the point perfectly.
Whoever leaked broke a convention that the relevant committee chairs are to be consulted before picks are made public. Perhaps Diane Feinstein would’ve still performed her odd “I object, nevermind, I don’t object routine”, but the snub was the apparent cause. And so Feinstein and the leaker combined to waste a news cycle on an absolute non-issue.
Update: it seems that other committee heads were not informed of potential picks before they went public, which means that the source for the Panetta leak may have had little role in offending Feinstein.