Posted by Curt on 30 December, 2005 at 9:40 am. 6 comments already!

**Welcome to Malkin readers, knew something was up when my statcounter went haywire.**

**Updates at the end.**

And it’s about time:

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of classified information about President Bush’s secret domestic spying program, Justice officials said Friday.

The officials, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, said the inquiry will focus on disclosures to The New York Times about warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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The Justice Department’s investigation was being initiated after the agency received a request for the probe from the NSA.Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been conducting a separate leak investigation to determine who in the administration leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame’s name to the media in 2003.

Several reporters have been called to testify before a grand jury or to give depositions. New York Times reporter Judith Miller spent 85 days in jail, refusing to reveal her source, before testifying in the probe.

~~~

In a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees, the Justice Department said Bush authorized conducting electronic surveillance without first obtaining a warrant in an effort to thwart terrorist acts against the United States.

Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella acknowledged “legitimate” privacy interests. But he said those interests “must be balanced” against national security.

Finally, maybe just maybe the treasonous NYT’s will be called to the mat….I’m not holding my breath tho.

Of course the MSM, being as biased as they usually are, can’t help but out themselves…especially with this story. Take a look at the below screenshot of the yahoo page (click the photo to get the larger image). The headlines on the right hand side say “Justice Dept. Opens Domestic Spying Probe” as if they are going to investigate Bush.

Of course when you click the story the real title is “Justice Dept. Probing Domestic Spying Leak”…..a little different wouldn’t you say?

UPDATE

More from Fox News that the FBI is involved also:

Officials have confirmed to FOX News that the FBI is involved in the investigation, but did not comment on whether other agencies were involved, or when the investigation began. One official has said the referral for the probe came from the NSA.

UPDATE II

A commentor on Free Republic who has talked to people in the know say:

Sorry All, I was on the phone trying to get some dirt on this. So far, the strong RUMOR is that they know who did it and it is more than one person. The investigation is already underway, and reporters WILL be questioned.

Of course there is no way to tell if the commentor really knows people in the know….but it would not surprise me that the Justice Department already has a ton of info on who did it.

Cough Rockefeller & Judge Robertson Cough

UPDATE III

Recall the original story done by the NYT’s stated:

Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation’s legality and oversight.”

More to chew on….

UPDATE IV

AJStrata found this nugget:

The Justice Department has also opened a probe into whether classified information was illegally disclosed to The Washington Post, which reported on a network of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Nice! Hopefully this investigation will net many of the rogue CIA agents who have been actively trying to get rid of this President.

UPDATE V

AJStrata has confirmed the information about the leaker being known already. Hopefully this pans out.

I am being told in private by someone with sources that there are multiple targets, Flopping Aces is right that the targets are known since the investigation is well along, and the Robertson resignation is linked.

UPDATE VI

MacRanger skewers the lawyer who said on Fox News this morning that the Government has no right to go after the leakers:

Mr. Devine needs to stop the bloviating and read up on TITLE 18: PART I: CHAPTER 37 : ? 798 Disclosure of classified information, to wit:

Go read the rest for yourself. Good stuff.

UPDATE VII

Well what do ya know. Yahoo news changed their title on the main page to what it should have been in the first place. Here is the NEW screenshot:


UPDATE VIII

Will they go after the leakers providing information to Dana Priest at the WaPo also? Ed Morrissey has the scoop:

In another attempt to find something sinister to hang onto the Bush administration, another secret program constituting a major part of the war on terror has been exposed by another member of the Exempt Media. This time, the Washington Post uses its contacts in the CIA to expose an umbrella program called GST, the code for a loose affiliation of dozens of programs designed to locate and fight terrorists abroad rather than wait for them to show up here. Nothing about the article stands out as a smoking gun, it never alleges anything specifically illegal, but Dana Priest writes the front-pager as a warning that the President has gone out of control in defending the US from attack.

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Reading the lengthy article, it becomes clear that the sources feeding this to the Post come from the CIA. Not only does the article expose Langley programs exclusively, the entire end of the article is dedicated to the whining of CIA personnel over their public image.

These rogue CIA agents are out of control. Hopefully there will be a total and complete housecleaning done by Bush.

Martin from Martin’s Musings has more:

In order to undermine this anti-terror effort, and, as a result, promote terrorism in the United States and abroad, the Post believes it is incumbent upon itself to blow the cover of a classified CIA program. The Post does so with the assistance of government leaks that are exponentially more threatening to national security than the Valerie Plame case.

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As part of the current transformation from the “Bush Lied” to the “Bush Broke The Law” strategy by the liberal media, the Washington Post attempts to make the case that the CIA’s covert operations are illegal. However, the article fails to specify the statutes that are violated, but predictably relies on innuendo instead.

UPDATE IX

The ACLU is coming out with their usual shrill cries:

The American Civil Liberties Union has urged the government to name a special counsel to determine whether Bush violated federal wiretapping laws by authorizing illegal surveillance.

In a statement on Friday, the ACLU criticized the Justice Department’s investigation.

“President Bush broke the law and lied to the American people when he unilaterally authorized secret wiretaps of U.S. citizens,” said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero.

“But rather than focus on this constitutional crisis, Attorney General (Alberto) Gonzales is cracking down on critics of his friend and boss,” he said. “Our nation is strengthened, not weakened by those whistle-blowers who are courageous enough to speak out on violations of the law.”

Funny how supposed educated individuals can be so ignorant at times. ANYONE who has looked at the laws regarding these wiretaps knows that NO law was broken. The left can hope, wish and pray as much as they want that this will be the smoking gun that finally allows them to bring down Bush but the only thing that’s going to happen is they will look even more like traitors to our country. War on Terror or no War on Terror, all they care about is who is in power. Sad bunch.

UPDATE X

Just had to get onto DummiesU for a good laugh and found some priceless comments:

This is where they “jump the shark” the Times withheld that information until AFTER the election ensuring BushCo that they would get back in.Now they attack or bite the proverbial hand that fed them.Good move KKKarl I love it.Now,the Times has to follow up that story with the ultimate ass kicker-start naming the names of WHO they were spying on,and when it comes out that it was the people we all suspect it to be then the shit really hits the fan.I think they wait until congress comes back before the new disclosures.

How about this one from a very well written and intelligent DUer:

Are you afraid of your own damn government? I’m not. they should be afraid of me, and you, and the awakening populace.

fuck living in fear of bush and his pals and what they might to next to america, fuck it, fuck it fuck it, i am not afraid of these cheap ass mother fuckers, not one bit.

fuck you dick and george, we will not cower in fear to your temporarily powerful asses, fuck you and all your little pals, soon YOU will learn fear, and you will live in it forever, and you can take that to the bank.

Here’s someone who has obviously done his homework…sigh

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…..THE ISSUE IS NOT SPYING

IT IS DOING DO WITHOUT A COURT SAYING IT IS OK FIRST OR WITHIN 72 HOURS.

THAT IS THE LAW (FISA) AND ANYTHING SHORT OF THAT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!!

Wow.

Can always count on the Nazi comments on DummiesU:

george’s Spying on Americans is UN-AMERICAN… can we agree on that? and possibly extrapolate it?

I see kkkarl rove is back on the job… the republicanazis are far, far more pissed about the truth being told about george and his illegal spying, the leak, as it were, than the un-American spying activities that george was engaged in.

It’s brilliant in a Goebbels kind of way.

Want more?

They just keep punishing the messengers, We should nominate the person who made the leak for the Nobel

Why not? Tookie was nominated, the leaker who singlehandedly put our country at great risk should get nominated also…dont ya think?

And

This person deserves the medal of freedom or the times person of the year in 06.

Some one finally had the guts to stand up and tell the truth knowing what fate would befall them if they were found out. This person is a ral hero.

Yup, the moonbats are always good for a laugh.

UPDATE XI

Baklava in the comments section highlighted another interesting aspect of those Yahoo news pages. Check out how they write “Justice Dept. Probing Domestic Spying Leak”, get that? They attempt to portray this as a domestic to domestic wiretap when it is nothing of the sort. It’s domestic calls to international terrorists. Just another example of the bias in the MSM.

UPDATE XII

Great quote by White House Trent Duffy:

“The leaking of classified information is a serious issue. The fact is that al-Qaida’s playbook is not printed on Page One and when America’s is, it has serious ramifications,” Duffy told reporters in Crawford, Texas, where Bush was spending the holidays.

And this one from a Professor:

Douglas Kmiec, a Pepperdine University law professor, said the Justice probe is the next logical step because the NSA is alleging a violation of a law that prohibits disclosure of classified information.

“The Department of Justice has the general obligation to investigate suspected violations of the law,” Kmiec said. “It would be extraordinary for the department not to take up this matter.”

UPDATE XIII

MacRanger makes a great point here while responding to those who are screaming “whistleblower!”. the Whistleblower act is clearly laid out here. You won’t see anywhere in the text of that document that say’s , hey…if you got some dirt on something or someone go to the NYTs:

Again, see Title 18, as well as the intent of the Classified and Related Information Disclosure Act, to wit:

“This legislation directs the President to inform employees of the intelligence community that they may disclose information, including classified information, to an appropriate oversight committee of Congress when that information is evidence of misconduct, fraud, or gross mismanagement.

The committee is hopeful that this legislation will also encourage employees within the intelligence community to bring such information to an appropriate committee of Congress rather than unlawfully disclosing such information to the media, as happens from time to time.”

The “right” of intelligence employees of the Government to report TO PROPER AUTHORITY evidence of fraud, misconduct, etc.

As in anything, there is a “chain of command” in all of Government, and the last time I looked, the NY Times (James Risen) or Washington Post (Dana Priest) did not appear in any of the IC charts.

UPDATE XIV

I just have to post this comment left on AJStrata’s blog by MerryJ1 in response to another commentor, it’s freakin excellent:

Can we back up just a bit?

?The FISA statute was created precisely because of the domestic wiretapping ?for national security purposes during a time of war (Vietnam)? by Richard Nixon. FISA specifically was Congress? check on the president?s surveillance powers. Bush ignored FISA as surely as Nixon ignored the existing laws when he conducted domestic wiretaps. Nixon had to resign because of it, A.J. Are you now saying that what Nixon did was legal??

Not quite: President Nixon?s abuse was allegedly in ordering wiretaps of political opponents and others on a so-called ?enemies list.? That is, his personal/political enemies, not enemy agents of foreign governments or groups.

That his DOJ additionally used wiretaps, without probable cause, on US citizens active in radical groups such as SDS, etc., earned Nixon and John Mitchell censure; but where the ?enemies list? surveillance might constitute an impeachable offense, the radical-groups surveillance was mere overzealousness. But note, these groups? members were not listed in foreign enemy address books, and they were not tracked or discovered via surveillance of enemy agents.

Similar to Nixon?s ?enemies list? abuses, as reportedly disclosed in the Barrett Report which is being held in lock-down by Senate Democrats, President Clinton used IRS audits and other federal investigative strategies to take the starch out of his political critics.

That Clinton?s IRS-audits-gambit was a straight-up equivalent of Nixon?s ?enemies list? tactics, does not negate the Clinton Administration?s rightful claim, argued on identical points by Jamie Gorelick, Clinton?s Deputy Attorney General, to the same constitutional authority the Bush Administration asserts in the current NSA-FISA kerfuffle.

A big difference between the Clinton & Nixon Administrations, and the Bush Administration, is that President Bush has not attempted to claim or use his constitutional authority as a handy sap for mugging political opponents, as those two former presidents did.

?FISA specifically was Congress? check on the president?s surveillance powers??

No. FISA was Congress? check on illicit use of surveillance powers. Unfortunately, the FISC fell into the overreaching hands of judicial activists who are apparently suffering from little Napoleon complexes: ONE warrant modification in eight years of Clinton applications, versus 179 modifications/denials in five years of Bush applications.

If another reason is needed to justify sidelining this court, try this one: MOUSSAOUI, August 22, 2001.

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