Which is worse: leaking classified information or destroying it?

The discovery of leaks of sensitive or classified information has startled the American people and many politicians alike. Recent leaks have jeopardized US national security causing unprecedented concern for America's best and brightest operators working inside the Defense Department and our spy agencies. But what is more damaging -- leaking classified information or destroying it?

Leaking classified information is irresponsible and damaging but so can the destruction of information.

Just this week, two reports have unfolded proving some Department of Defense leaders are actually destroying sensitive information for selfish reasons. These acts of betrayal can actually cost the lives of America's greatest assets -- our warriors.

The Washington Times released an article titled Army destroyed report that favored software that detected buried bombs. The article explains how military leaders and their civilian counterparts actually destroyed information in an attempt to protect one of their own babies, an intelligence tool known as the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS).

DCGS has many competitors. One of its main competitors is an analytical tool known as Palantir.  Palantir has been used for several years by intelligence analysts supporting our special operators. A few conventional intelligence analysts sought to incorporate Palantir into their toolbox but were denied access.

Whether nor not Palantir is better or worse than its competitor DCGS matters little. What matters is the fact that someone actually destroyed information about Palantir's capabilities along with its testing and evaluation outcomes. This in and of itself jeopardizes our warfighters' safety while operating abroad.

Destroying critical insight about a software system is not the only thing defense officials have done recently that jeopardizes our troop's safety. Yesterday, The Blaze released a report demonstrating an incredibly unethical norm taking place in the highest of echelons founded within our military -- more destruction of sensitive information.

As The Blaze reported, US taxpayers spent $150 million funding a newly created Afghan hospital. The hospital has numerous issues which constitute unsanitary conditions, poor treatment, and even starvation of its patients.  Lieutenant General William Caldwell has been accused of trying to cover up the issues in the Kabul hospital. He has been rumored to have stated, "How could we ... make this request with [the 2010] elections coming?"

So now America's top military commanders are playing politics caring less about the safety of our own troops. What happens when some of these patients are released from the hospital and go back to their little tribes saying how poorly the US led medical team treated them?

Only a fool would think this was the first time US military leaders played politics. However, every American should be appalled at the fact that politics have now truly interfered with the safety of our nation's greatest protectors, our service members.

So now the United States has another serious dilemma on its hands that goes far beyond just leaking sensitive information. We are now seeing incidents where military leaders are covering up some stark truths by destroying information. It seems like the Defense and the Justice departments now have something in common. Apparently, the ethical codes of honor and integrity is no longer sought after to hold a critical position of leadership in some of America's most critical national security domains.

Kerry Patton, a combat service disabled veteran, is a published author and senior analyst for WIKISTRAT. You can follow him on Facebook or at www.kerry-patton.com.