Leak suggest US closing in on previous leak investigation target

Washington Post:
Federal investigators looking into disclosures of classified information about a cyberoperation that targeted Iran’s nuclear program have increased pressure on current and former senior government officials suspected of involvement, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry, which was started by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. last June, is examining leaks about a computer virus developed jointly by the United States and Israel that damaged nuclear centrifuges at Iran’s primary uranium enrichment plant. The U.S. code name for the operation was Olympic Games, but the wider world knew the mysterious computer worm as Stuxnet.

Prosecutors are pursuing “everybody — at pretty high levels, too,” said one person familiar with the investigation. “There are many people who’ve been contacted from different agencies.”

The FBI and prosecutors have interviewed several current and former senior government officials in connection with the disclosures, sometimes confronting them with evidence of contact with journalists, according to people familiar with the probe. Investigators, they said, have conducted extensive analysis of the e-mail accounts and phone records of current and former government officials in a search for links to journalists.

...

The proliferation of e-mail and the advent of sophisticated software capable of sifting through huge volumes of it have significantly improved the ability of the FBI to find evidence. A trail of e-mail has eased the FBI’s search for a number of suspects recently, including John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who was sentenced Friday to 30 months in prison for disclosing to a journalist the identity of a CIA officer who had spent 20 years under cover.

...

“People are feeling less open to talking to reporters given this uptick,” said a person with knowledge of Machen’s inquiry. “There is a definite chilling effect in government due to these investigations.”
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There is much more.

The main idea of investigating the unauthorized leak of secret information is chill further releases as well as find those responsible for the leak.  If it has had a chilling effect then that is a good thing.  Whoever released the information about the Stuxnet virus has cost the US and private companies dearly as they have had to respond to the counter attacks by Iran.  I would feel better about this inquiry if it was being run by someone more independent of this administration.

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