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Category Archives: Secrecy: Leaks Prosecutions

Did the New York Times Editorial Page Accuse General Petraeus of a Crime Spree?

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 11:44 AM

I’m not sure, but I think so. From today’s editorial, entitled, “Gen. Petraeus’s Light Punishment“: Mr. Petraeus, who charmed and provided extraordinary access to handpicked journalists and national security experts during his tours running the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was all too familiar with the currency of classified information in the battleground of public . . .
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Recidivism Among Espionage Act Convicts

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Monday, March 16, 2015 at 5:06 PM

Anyone remember Samuel Loring Morrison? Espionage Act nerds certainly do. Morrison was the first person prosecuted and convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking classified material? Morrison was convicted in the 1980s of leaking satellite photos to Jane’s Defense Weekly. He was later pardoned retrospectively by President Clinton as part of Clinton’s spree of pardons on his . . .
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Chris Jenks on the Petraeus Plea

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Friday, March 6, 2015 at 8:28 AM

The estimable Chris Jenks writes in from Australia with the following thoughts on my piece yesterday on the David Petraeus plea: Appreciated your comments on Petraeus. One additional factor which resonates with me and I think most military folks is that Petraeus was a general court martial convening authority for a decade or more. He . . .
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Thoughts on the Petraeus Plea

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Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Over at The Intercept, Peter Maass complains that the plea deal for David Petraeus is “yet another example of a senior official treated leniently for the sorts of violations that lower-level officials are punished severely for.” At Bloomberg View, by contrast, columnist Eli Lake argues that, while wrong, Petraeus’s sins are just not that big a deal. This . . .
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Reactions to NYT Story on North Korean Cyber Penetration

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Monday, January 19, 2015 at 9:45 AM

David Sanger and Martin Fackler write in the NYT that the NSA “drilled into the Chinese networks that connect North Korea to the outside world, picked through connections in Malaysia favored by North Korean hackers and penetrated directly into the North with the help of South Korea and other American allies,” and also placed malware . . .
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There is Nothing Wrong with Comey Criticizing the NYT

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Friday, January 16, 2015 at 1:30 PM

The U.S. government has effectively granted journalists immunity from prosecution for violating the criminal prohibitions on publication of certain classified information, and it has begun to recognize a norm against forcing journalists to disclose their sources.  As I wrote in Power and Constraint, “Underlying this persistent restraint [by the USG] is a recognition—based in part . . .
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On Journalists’ Claims for Immunity From Legal Accountability

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Monday, November 3, 2014 at 8:37 AM

I think I am unusual among former government officials in arguing that the publication of national security secrets can promote democracy and good government.  Such publications are often costly, sometimes very costly, to national security – more so than is generally realized.  But as I wrote in Power and Constraint, “it does not follow that . . .
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Snowden Correspondence with NSA OGC [UPDATED]

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Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM

The ODNI Tumblr site today posted April 2013 e-mail correspondence between Edward Snowden and the NSA’s Office of General Counsel—the only such correspondence NSA says it has found. UPDATE [9:30 p.m.]: Snowden has responded to the release this evening—in a Washington Post interview—and called the release “incomplete.”  See below the fold.     The reason for the release is obvious: debate . . .
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Schoenfeld on the Selective Prosecution of Leakers

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Gabriel Schoenfeld, author of the indispensable Necessary Secrets, has a new essay in Hoover’s Emerging Threats series entitled “Secrecy, Leaks, and Selective Prosecution.”  He offers this description of the essay: Does it matter that low-level government officials are prosecuted and sent to prison when they leak classified information, yet high-ranking officials in the White House and . . .
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Why Kinsley is Wrong About the Connection Between Democracy and the Publication of National Security Secrets

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Michael Kinsley, in his review of Glenn Greenwald’s book, made the following claims about leaks of national security secrets: The question is who decides.  It seems clear, at least to me, that the private companies that own newspapers, and their employees, should not have the final say over the release of government secrets, and a . . .
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ODNI Clarifies New Pre-Publication Review Policy

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Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 4:01 PM

On Friday I said that on a quick read, the Obama administration’s new pre-publication review policy seemed “overbroad to the point of practically unenforceable.”   Friday afternoon, as Marty Lederman noted, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence distributed a memorandum that sought to clarify that the new policy was being interpreted more broadly than . . .
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The Latest Obama Administration Anti-Leak Initiative

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Friday, May 9, 2014 at 5:28 AM

Charlie Savage reports: The Obama administration is clamping down on a technique that government officials have long used to join in public discussions of well-known but technically still-secret information: citing news reports based on unauthorized disclosures. A new pre-publication review policy for the Office of Director of National Intelligence says the agency’s current and former employees and . . .
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Exclusive: NSA Program Can Target Thoughts of Millions of Targets, Thousands of Americans

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 12:01 AM

The National Security Agency has developed the capability to mine the thought patterns of millions of people simultaneously, collection that may involve thousands of Americans, according to the latest disclosure from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. An NSA Powerpoint slide refers to the classified program, code-named “MINDPRISM,” as “The Ultimate in Upstream Collection.” A combination . . .
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Holding Leakers Accountable: Considering New Leaks Laws

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Those who leak classified information violate their contracts, the public’s trust, and the law. As for those who publish the leaked information – it’s “complicated,” according to FBI Director James Comey. He was responding recently to House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers’ question whether reporters are guilty of crimes in obtaining or publishing classified information. . . .
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General Keith Alexander on the NSA Scandals

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Friday, October 25, 2013 at 7:19 PM

I haven’t watched this yet. Will publish thoughts on it after I have done so—if I have any. In the meantime, here are Josh Gerstein’s from Politico: The head of the embattled National Security Agency, Gen. Keith Alexander, is accusing journalists of “selling” his agency’s documents and is calling for an end to the steady stream of . . .
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Fourth Circuit: No Rehearing En Banc in U.S. v. Sterling

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Here’s the Fourth Circuit’s order denying two petitions for rehearing en banc—-one by New York Times reporter James Risen, the other by former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling.    This past summer, a panel held, in a 2-1 vote, that the journalist had no First Amendment privilege enabling him to refuse to testify in the leak prosecution against Sterling. . . .
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Critical Thoughts on New Report on Obama Leak Crackdown

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Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Today the Committee to Protect Journalists published a very critical report on the Obama administration’s efforts to crack down on leakers and control the flow of secret information from government officials to the press.  “The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, . . .
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“Just Security” Launch Event Webcast

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM

The official launch event for the new site Just Security is taking place at this hour with an event entitled, “When Reporting is a Crime: National Security and the Press After Snowden and Sterling.” The event is being webcast live. You can watch it here: Video streaming by Ustream

Former FBI Agent to Plead Guilty in AP Leaks Case

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Monday, September 23, 2013 at 5:55 PM

That’s the sum and substance of this Washington Post piece, which begins: A former FBI bomb technician who later worked as a contractor for the Bureau has agreed to plead guilty to disclosing national defense information about a disrupted terrorist plot to the Associated Press, according to the Justice Department. Donald John Sachtleben, 55, of Carmel, Ind., . . .
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A Critique of the Latest Snowden Disclosures

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Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 5:04 PM

The world now has extraordinary access to the details of how the United States operates and funds its intelligence agencies, courtesy of Edward Showden and the Washington Post.  This will lead to no good.  It makes friendly countries nervous about what we can do, and unfriendly countries happy about what we can’t do.  This kind . . .
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