By Deborah CharlesSo, is the DOJ's new slogan "We've got the President's Back?" Because their primary concern is obviously not any sort of even-handed enforcement of the laws of this country.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is investigating who disclosed a secret domestic eavesdropping operation approved by President George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks, officials said on Friday.
"We are opening an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified materials related to the NSA," an official said on condition of anonymity.
Earlier this month, Bush acknowledged the program and called its disclosure to The New York Times "a shameful act." He said he presumed the Justice Department would investigate who leaked the National Security Agency eavesdropping operation to the newspaper.
Justice Department officials would give no details of who requested the probe or how it would be conducted.
It is the second recent high-level probe into the leak of classified information to the media.
After a two-year investigation into the disclosure of a covert CIA operative's identity, a special prosecutor in October indicted Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby on perjury and obstructing justice charges.
That investigation is still continuing.
Disclosure of the covert domestic spying program two weeks ago triggered concerns among both Democrats and Republicans, with many lawmakers questioning whether it violates the U.S. Constitution.
The Plame investigation, a politically motivated leaking of classified information solely for partisan gain, was only begun months after the initial leak and then only at the insistence of the CIA. In this case a potentially felonious violation of Constitutional rights is revealed, and the DOJ jumps all over the leaker and doesn't even deign to investigate the potential violations. I know, a senate investigation has been promised, but I'll believe it when I see it.
Anyone know anything about whistleblower laws? Would they be applicable in this case?
In the meantime, I'm going to go study New York Times Co. v. United States just in case.
Update: Just wanted to emphasize that that last paragraph wasn't a throw away. I encourage everyone to read that decision. It's a truly fascinating examination of governmental powers during a conflict which is quite relevant to today's situation.
Here's a snippet from Justice Stewart's concurring opinion just to whet your appetite:
I think there can be but one answer to this dilemma, if dilemma it be. The responsibility must be where the power is. If the Constitution gives the Executive a large degree of unshared power in the conduct of foreign affairs and the maintenance of our national defense, then, under the Constitution, the Executive must have the largely unshared duty to determine and preserve the degree of internal security necessary to exercise that power successfully. It is an awesome responsibility, requiring judgment and wisdom of a high order. I should suppose that moral, political, and practical considerations would dictate that a very first principle of that wisdom would be an insistence upon avoiding secrecy for its own sake. For when everything is classified, then nothing is classified, and the system becomes one to be disregarded by the cynical or the careless, and to be manipulated by those intent on self-protection or self-promotion. I should suppose, in short, that the hallmark of a truly effective internal security system would be the maximum possible disclosure, recognizing that secrecy can best be preserved only when credibility is truly maintained.