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Archive for July 5th, 2012

What Leaks Are Being Investigated, and What’s the Law on Leaks?

Pres. Obama at press conference/white house file photo

By Cora Currier
ProPublica

Recent scoops on national security have drawn the ire of Republican lawmakers, who have accused the Obama White House of leaking stories that burnish its image.

Obama responded that he has “zero tolerance” for leaks. He also said: “the writers of these articles have all stated unequivocally that they didn’t come from this White House. And that’s not how we operate.”

Someone somewhere has to be talking. Eric Holder said he’s assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead separate criminal investigations into “potential unauthorized disclosures.” Although the Justice Department won’t comment on which particular leaks are under investigation, unnamed officials (of course) have given reporters an idea.

Here’s what we know about leak investigations underway, the legality of leaks, and why leak prosecutions have been so rare.

Leak: Stuxnet

The New York Times reported that Obama ordered cyberattacks against Iran using Stuxnet, a computer virus the U.S. developed with Israel.

Sources: “participants” in the program and the attack, “members of the president’s national security team,” “current and former American, European and Israeli officials,” “one of [Obama’s] aides,” “a senior administration official.”

Investigation: The CIA reportedly sent a “crime report” to the Justice Department on the leak, and it is—as unnamed officials told Reuters—one of the two new investigations.

Leak: Foiled Underwear Bomber

The AP reported that the CIA foiled an Al-Qaeda plot out of Yemen to deploy a new kind of underwear bomb. Subsequent stories identified the role of a double-agent in stopping the plot.

Sources: “U.S. officials who were briefed on the operation.”

Investigation: The story also apparently prompted the CIA to send a “crime report” to the Justice Department, making it the second of the criminal inquiries mentioned by Holder.

Read more »

FBI Agent Charged With Stealing Money That Was to Go to Informants

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
An Oklahoma City FBI agent is accused of pocketing public funds that were supposed to pay confidential informants, the Associated Press reports.

Timothy Klotz was charged with embezzlement of public money in excess of $1,000.

Federal prosecutors say he forged signatures of FBI agents and U.S. Air Force investigators to get the money.

Klotz, who was suspended without pay and has filed for bankruptcy, has agreed to plead guilty and apologize.

Ex-FBI Employee: I saw Angels at Site of 9/11 Plane Crash in PA

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI employee says she saw angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed during the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Associated Press reports.

Lillie Leonardi, a community affairs coordinator, was a liaison between law enforcement and the victims of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash when she arrived on the scene three hours after the crash.

In a new book, “In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir,” Leonardi describes seeing angels at the site.

“The purpose of the book is to tell the story of the angels being there so that other people understand that God was there,” Leonardi said, according to the Post.

She retired after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder linked to her role in the aftermath of the crash.

Immigration Agents Capture Alleged Mexican Drug Cartel Operative

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 When authorities arrested Anel Violeta Noriega Rios last week on immigration charges in southern California, they had no idea how big the catch was, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The woman turned out to be Noriega Rios, who was wanted by the Mexican government for her alleged role as a top operative in the La Familia drug cartel working out of the U.S.

Immigration officials said she helped move massive quantities of methamphetamine into the U.S.  from Mexico, according to the LA Times.

Mexican authorities took custody of Noriega Rios on Friday.

California Champions Bill to Protect Illegal Immigrants

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While Arizona and Alabama impose tough crackdowns on illegal immigration, California lawmakers are creating a bill that would protect many illegal immigrants, Reuters reports.

California lawmakers are crafting a bill that would bar local police from referring a detainee to immigration officials unless he or she has been convict of a serious felony.

“California cannot afford to become another Arizona,” said California Assembly member Tom Ammiano, the bill’s sponsor, according to Reuters.

Critics of the crackdowns in Alabama and Arizona say they lead to unconstitutional racial profiling.

Three Questioned in Shooting of ICE Agent

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Police have detained three people for questioning in the shooting of a federal immigration agent in South Texas, the Associated Press reports.

It’s unclear if the trio was involved in the non-fatal shooting of Kelton Harrison, an agent for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said the investigation was uncovering strong leads.

Harrison was listed in stable condition at McAllen Medical Center, according to the AP.

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