Federal Government Investigating Classified Intel Leaks (US Law)

by Criminal Defence Blawg on June 26, 2012

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A recent string of leaks related to classified intelligence information has reignited a debate on national security issues, and the public’s need to know, even right to know, what its government is doing at all times.

As with all things in life, one’s take on this issue will depend largely, if not wholly, on their unique vantage point. Intel agencies and federal organizations dealing with highly sensitive information, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Defense (DOD), National Security Agency (NSA), and the Department of State, confront potentially compromised missions when classified information is released.

Others, however, believe that it is the right of all citizens to know what their government is doing, and work to expose those things that are believed overly aggressive, and perhaps, according to some, wrongful uses of our power as a global hegemon. And, not to be disregarded, there are those who leak classified information in a game of political positioning, in the hopes that such information will either negatively or positively impact those in elected office.

Government Criminal Investigation

Whatever the reason for exposing classified information, the federal government is nothing if not diligent in pursuing those it believes has compromised the safety of our country and the lives of Americans both here and abroad. Whether you believe that the government is too heavy-handed in its pursuits is once again a matter of opinion, as well as one of policy. As a matter of course, the aggressive pursuit of those believed to have compromised state secrets may be viewed as having a deterrent effect on those who might otherwise feel tempted to release classified information. The harder the government comes down on individuals involved in such illegal activities, the less likely future federal crimes of this sort will occur.

On that note, Attorney General Eric Holder has recently launched an effort to uncover the source of such recent leaks as those detailing the actions related to the killing of Osama bid Laden, U.S. cyber warfare efforts in coordination with Israel in order to hamstring Iran’s developing nuclear capabilities; a “kill list” of foreign terrorists currently targeted by our military and intelligence agencies, and plans to utilize drone attacks in Afghanistan. The determination to root out the individual or individuals responsible for these leaks seems to, for now, bely Washington’s permanent political gridlock, uniting both sides of the aisle in an effort to purse and punish to the fullest extent possible those responsible.

From a legal standpoint, those responsible for such crimes may be in hot water, as Holder has promised to prosecute such criminal violations aggressively. What’s interesting, however, is that the leaking of classified information is nothing new—nor has it ever been especially controversial. In fact, politicians and journalists have long had close, if reluctant, ties with one another, with members of Congress using the media as a means to get information that they believe is of value to their particular position (or re-election prospects) out to the mainstream. Whether the government is actually able to uncover the source of the leaks in this case is anyone’s guess, but considering the vigorous stance taken by Holder, and others in position of power, it may not be a bad idea for those in any way involved to quickly secure legal representation.

Written by Phil Balbo. Please contact our federal criminal lawyers for more information or to schedule free consultation. For more information about government links, you can read more on Wikipedia.

Criminal Defence Blawg

Criminal Defence Blawg

Criminal law blogger at CriminalDefenceBlawg
Criminal Defence Blawg is a criminal law blog, sharing legal expertise and intelligence from the UK, US, Australia and beyond. Contributions from those who share great legal information. Want to get published? Contact us today.
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