September 29, 2003

CIA Referral

I would be curious precisely what it is that normally triggers such a referral. Is it just the mention of CIA personnel in the press? Is there some other specific tripwire?

The Justice Department receives about 50 CIA referrals a year seeking a preliminary investigation into leaks of classified information, a senior administration official said. Very few ever get beyond the preliminary investigation.

Investigators have to answer a number of questions before deciding whether to begin a full-blown criminal investigation, the official said.

Among the most difficult to determine is how many people in the government might have been privy to the classified information. Other key questions are how much damage was done by disclosure, whether the leaker was aware the information was classified and whether that person had intended to violate the law.

[...]

After Novak's column was published, the CIA's Office of General Counsel sent a letter in late July to the Justice Department, saying that a violation of the law had apparently occurred when someone provided Novak with the CIA officer's name. The letter was not signed by CIA Director George Tenet and did not call for a specific investigation of the White House.

It does appear that those calling for a independent investigation may have jumped the gun a bit, for even if there is something serious here, such an action seems premature at this point.

Source: White House Denies Leaking CIA Agent's ID

Posted by Steven Taylor at September 29, 2003 07:25 PM | TrackBack
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