Grand Jury looking at NSA leaks

NY Times:

A federal grand jury has begun investigating the leak of classified information about intelligence programs to the press and has subpoenaed a former National Security Agency employee who claims to have witnessed illegal activity while working at the agency.

The former employee, Russell D. Tice, 44, of Linthicum, Md., said two F.B.I. agents approached on Wednesday and handed him the subpoena, which requires him to testify next Wednesday before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va.

The subpoena, which Mr. Tice made public on Friday, says the investigation covers “possible violation of federal criminal laws involving the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.” It specifically mentions the Espionage Act.

For months, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into disclosures of secret intelligence operations, including The New York Times’s reports in December about the N.S.A.’s domestic surveillance program and The Washington Post’s articles on the Central Intelligence Agency’s overseas jails for terror suspects. But the subpoena is the first public confirmation that a grand jury has begun to hear evidence.

The decision to compel testimony before a grand jury is an indication of the seriousness of the inquiry. The Eastern District of Virginia has often been chosen by the Justice Department for national security cases because the federal court there is generally thought to be favorable to the government.


Mr. Tice said that he had discussed unclassified information about the security agency with reporters for The Times and other publications but that he had always been careful not to reveal classified information.

He said he had described what he believed to be illegal security agency activities to Congressional staff members who had the necessary security clearances to receive the information. He declined to describe the activities, but he said he believed that they violated the Constitution and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs intelligence eavesdropping inside the United States.


H,mm. Is Tice suggesting that the leak of the classified data came from the Congressional staffers that he had talked to? That seems like a reasonable conclusion if his story is found to be true. Let's see, would it have been a Democrat or Republican staffer? My guess is that all the staffers will get a chance to tell their story to the Grand Jury.


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