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Outrage over leaks by government employees is no longer limited to the executive branch. A federal judge in New York has ordered the Department of Justice to discover how CBS News learned of the FBI's espionage investigation into AIPAC:
A federal judge has ordered a Justice Department probe into how CBS News obtained a story two years ago disclosing an FBI investigation into a pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Judge Thomas Ellis III issued the order last week in connection with the prosecution of two former Aipac employees, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. The two men are facing criminal charges of conspiracy to acquire and disclose classified information.
Judge Ellis instructed the Justice Department "to conduct an investigation into the identity of any government employee responsible for the August 2004 disclosure to CBS News of info. related to the investigation of defendants/whether the investigation relied on info. collected pursuant to" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to an entry placed on the docket of the Alexandria, Va.-based court yesterday. A more detailed opinion explaining the judge's ruling is under seal.
It is not clear whether Judge Ellis wants the alleged leak prosecuted, but disclosure of information from a foreign intelligence wiretap is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The media, especially national organizations, used to have a silent immunity from these kinds of investigations, but two developments changed all of that. First, the media used to understand the impact of the disclosures they made and to coordinate them with the federal government to minimize the damage. That era appears to have ended, largely with the New York Times, which has blown several intelligence programs during wartime despite the warnings of the White House and members of Congress.
Secondly and more importantly, the press brought it on themselves in the Plame leak. The New York Times, hypocritically, took the lead in hysterically demanding a federal probe into the kind of leak that they regularly publish on their front pages. Somehow the media mavens who took their lead from the Gray Lady never considered the fact that an investigation into leaks would require subpoenaed testimony from the reporters that received them.
Too late, they realized that the public storm they created would rain down all over themselves. They have tried to paint the subpoenas and the resulting contempt-of-court threats as an indication of an oppressive Bush administration, declaring war on the media. This order by Judge Ellis should put an end to that misapprehension. The media created this demand for investigations into leaks of classified information, and jus because they were too foolish to understand that all roads led back to them is no reason to feel much sympathy for their plight.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Judge Orders Justice Department Investigation of Leak to CBS A federal judge has ordered a Justice Department probe into how CBS News obtained a story two years ago disclosing an FBI investigation into a pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 3:47 PM
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From the NY Sun: Judge Orders Justice Department Investigation of Leak to CBS BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun August 22, 2006 A federal judge has ordered a Justice Department probe into how CBS News obtained a story two years ago disclosi... [Read More]
Tracked on August 22, 2006 8:34 PM
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