Obama might open criminal probe into NSA leaks



Government likely to open criminal probe into NSA leaks: officials

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama's administration is likely to open a criminal investigation into the leaking of highly classified documents that revealed the secret surveillance of Americans' telephone and email traffic, U.S. officials said on Friday.

The law enforcement and security officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, said the agencies that normally conduct such investigations, including the FBI and Justice Department, were expecting a probe into the leaks to a British and an American newspaper.

Such investigations typically begin after an agency that believes its secrets have been leaked without authorization files a complaint with the Justice Department.

It was unclear on Friday whether a complaint had been submitted by the publicity-shy National Security Agency, which was most directly involved in the collection of trillions of telephone and email communications.

However, one U.S. official with knowledge of the situation said that given the extent and sensitivity of the recent leaks, federal law may compel officials to open an investigation.

A criminal probe would represent another turn in the Obama administration's battle against national security leaks. This effort has been under scrutiny lately because of a Justice Department investigation that has involved searches of the phone records of Associated Press journalists and a Fox News reporter.

Leaks to media outlets this week have revealed a government campaign of domestic surveillance going far beyond anything that had been acknowledged previously.

Late on Wednesday, Britain's Guardian newspaper published what U.S. officials later acknowledged was an order, approved by the secretive U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, requiring a subsidiary of Verizon Communications to give the NSA raw data showing phone calls made from numbers within the United States and from U.S. numbers to those overseas.

The data did not include the identities of people who made the calls or the contents of the calls.

On Thursday, the Guardian and the Washington Post published slides from a secret NSA powerpoint presentation that described how the agency gathered masses of email data from prominent Internet firms, including Google, Facebook and Apple under a Top-Secret program called PRISM.

Some of the companies denied that the NSA and FBI had "direct access" to their central servers, as the Post reported.

On Friday, for example, Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said his company "is not and has never been part of any program to give the U.S. or any other government direct access to our servers."

"We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received," Zuckerberg said. "And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn't even heard of PRISM" before Thursday, he said.

James Clapper, the director of U.S. national intelligence, condemned the leaks and asserted that the news articles about PRISM contained "numerous inaccuracies."


Journalists involved in The Guardian and Washington Post articles have reported in depth on WikiLeaks, the website known for publishing secret U.S. government documents.

The Post report on the PRISM program was co-written by Laura Poitras, a filmmaker who has been working on a documentary on WikiLeaks, with the cooperation of its founder Julian Assange, and who last year made a short film about Bill Binney, a former NSA employee who became a whistleblowing critic of the agency.

Last year, the web magazine Salon published a lengthy article by the author of the Guardian report, Glenn Greenwald, accusing U.S. authorities of harassing Poitras when she left and re-entered the United States. Greenwald also has written frequently about Assange.

The Guardian and Post stories appeared in the same week that U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning went on trial in Maryland accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

In an email to Reuters on Friday, Poitras rejected the notion that the trial had any impact on the timing of her story.

"I am fully aware we are living in a political climate where national security reporting is being targeted by the government, however, I don't think fear should stop us from reporting these stories," Poitras wrote.

"To suggest that the timing of the NSA PRISM story is linked in any way to other events or stories I'm following is simply wrong. Like any journalist, I have many contacts and follow multiple stories."

Kris Coratti, a Washington Post spokeswoman, said the timing of the paper's publication of Poitras' story had nothing to do with Manning's trial and that Assange had played no role in arranging or encouraging the story.

Greenwald did not respond to emailed requests for comment. The Guardian's editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, declined to comment.

Shouldn't those who tried to keep it a secret from us be the ones criminally investigated?

No surprise. Obama is merely the fall guy for this operation. This country is a fucking disaster. Nothing is illegal if you're in government, and you can't step outside your house without committing a crime if you're a citizen.

Seems legit.

whew... I feel bettter now

I bumped all related threads for today and yesterday related to this and other similar elements of criminal activity by our federal government. You pussies who try to say shit like isn't a "conspiracy" and justify/enable it are going to get totally embarrassed if you try that shit here. I am your huckleberry.

Chomas - Land if the free my fucking ass, this horseshit should not be tolerated. Its a fucking joke that the feds can pull this kind of shit. Phone Post 3.0

Your average american is a scared little bitch who would sacrifice freedom for security at the drop of a hat so I'm not surprised it's tolerated.

Cotton - Seems legit.
Haha Phone Post 3.0

Spy on us = legal...carry on

Tell us we are being spied on = oh fuck noes you're goin to jail





so when does this asshole get impeached?

99% of Americans wont do shit.

The other 1% are already in prison Phone Post 3.0

I watched a bit of his rebuttal, what a joke.

Essentially they're not listening to every phone call, and the hacks that are elected in this so called democracy were informed so everything is a-ok.

Leon Panetta reveals the name of the ground team leader of the Bin Laden raid and nothing happens to him. Some poor fucker is going to get railroaded for revealing how decrepit the government is.

what is there to investigate? hasn't this type of surveillance been going on for years and we all are supposed to have known about it already? Phone Post

FirstScratch - what is there to investigate? hasn't this type of surveillance been going on for years and we all are supposed to have known about it already? Phone Post
They're investigating who did it, not that there is spying going on Phone Post 3.0

On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could:

    BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?

    CLEMENTE: "No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It's not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.

    BURNETT: "So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.

    CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not."


Obama will open a probe all right, his 5 fingers up Joe BiteMe's saggy sphincter Phone Post 3.0

FirstScratch - what is there to investigate? hasn't this type of surveillance been going on for years and we all are supposed to have known about it already? Phone Post

An insider claims it has been going on since October 2001...it was exposed first in 2005 but received minimal coverage. I'm also sure that many who are up in arms screaming impeachment did not feel that way when it was their favorite white Texan doing it all. Phone Post

Jack Carter - 

Shouldn't those who tried to keep it a secret from us be the ones criminally investigated?

No shit! So basically they're mad they got caught. Fack holes.

Why the tired comparisons to bush. I hated bush. And thought the WMD scandal was a human rights atrocity. However Obama is responsible for what he does now. Just because bush did it doesn't mean Obama gets a pass The whole point of electing Obama was to right the wrongs of bush, not continue them. He is turning out to be the guy doing more of the same Phone Post 3.0