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Tag: CIA

David Petraeus Investigation Expands to Top US Commander in Afganistan

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ever-evolving investigation into CIA Director David Petraeus’ extramarital affair has expanded to the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, who is accused of inappropriate communication with the woman at the center of the scandal, Reuters reports.

The FBI uncovered up to 30,000 pages of communication, mostly e-mails, between Allen and Jill Kelley, who is a family friend of Petraeus and the impetus of the investigation.

The nature of the communication is unclear.

Asked whether it included classified information, a senior U.S. Defense official would only say, “”We are concerned about inappropriate communications. We are not going to speculate as to what is contained in these documents.”

The Defense Department’s Inspector General is investigating.

Column: Ex-Fed Prosecutor Says Prosecutors in Petraeus Case Exercised “Sound Discretion”

Steve Levin, a criminal defense attorney, spent ten years as a federal prosecutor in North Carolina and Maryland. He served on active duty in the United States Army as a defense counsel, an appellate attorney, and a trial attorney, and is now a military judge in the Army Reserve. His firm, Levin & Curlett, has offices  in Baltimore and Washington.  This column  first appeared on his blog Fraud with Peril.

Steve Levin

 
By Steve Levin
For ticklethewire.com

In 2004, the then-US Attorney for the District of Maryland famously wrote in a leaked email that he wanted three front-page indictments by November of that year. Though open to interpretation, the impression left by the poorly-drafted missive is that prosecutors should seek headlines rather than justice.

Let’s give credit to the prosecutors involved in the Petraeus/ Broadwell affair, er, matter for their exercise of sound discretion.

Assuming the accuracy of the news reports, Paula Broadwell potentially subjected herself to indictment for any number of federal crimes. In his paper entitled Computer and Internet Crime, G. Patrick Black, a federal defender in Texas, analyzes a number of cyberstalking statutes. As Black writes:

Under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), it is a federal crime to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another. Section 875(c) applies to any communication actually transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce – thus it includes threats transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce via the telephone, e-mail, beepers, or the Internet. Title 18 U.S.C. 875 is not an all-purpose anti-cyberstalking statute.

First, it applies only to communications of actual threats. Thus, it would not apply in a situation where a cyberstalker engaged in a pattern of conduct intended to harass or annoy another (absent some threat). Also, it is not clear that it would apply to situations where a person harasses or terrorizes another by posting messages on a bulletin board or in a chat room encouraging others to harass or annoy another person.

Read more »

Former CIA Officer to Plead Guilty to Revealing Identity of Undercover Operative

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 As part of the Obama administration’s crackdown on leaks, a former CIA officer is expected to plead guilty today to a single charge of disclosing the identity of an undercover CIA operative, the Washington Post reports.

John C. Kiriakou faces up to 30 years in prison for leaking sensitive national defense information to the media.

Kiriakou’s plea is part of an agreement with the Justice Department to drop four other charges.

Kiriakou was charged with violating a 1970s law that makes it illegal to divulge the identities of U.S. intelligence operatives. He would become only the second person convicted of violating that law.

“The government will say that any guilty plea is a win, and the defense will say they were forced into a corner,” said Steven Aftergood, an expert on classification issues with the Federation of American Scientists. “In some sense, they will both be right.”

John Kiriakou Plea Provokes Bitter Name-Calling Among Lawyers

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON –– Is John Kiriakou a leaker or a patriotic whistleblower? Some rare, public name-calling among lawyers close to the case has broken out over the question.

Some of the ex-CIA man’s most fervent supporters claim the government is persecuting a patriot who helped expose CIA water boarding and the other “enhanced interrogation techniques” many people equate with torture.

The Justice Department begs to differ, of course. It argues the case is simple: Kiriakou “repeatedly” disclosed classified information and the names of covert CIA employees to journalists.

To read more clickhere.

Late Sen. Byrd Got FBI Documents on Civil Rights Movement

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, who belonged to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s and fought against legislation protecting black people, received secret FBI records about the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the Associated Press reports.

Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat who died in June 2010, suspected Communists and others were beginning to infiltrate the civil rights movement.

Turns out, the CIA leaked the documents to Byrd, prompting a feud between the two federal agencies, the AP reported.

Although Byrd caught heat form the FBI for obtaining the records, he was an outspoken supporter of the agency’s long-time director, J. Edgar Hoover, according to the AP.

FBI Probe of News Leaks Chills Relations with Media

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Media coverage of national security issues has become more difficult because employees at federal agencies have been afraid to speak out since the FBI began its hunt for leakers of sensitive information, the New York Times reports.

In one of the most thorough criminal investigations of intelligence disclosures in years, agents are questioning employees about leaks at the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Under President Obama’s administration, a record six leaks have been prosecuted.

“People are being cautious,” one intelligence official who, considering the circumstances, told the New York Times on condition of anonymity. “We’re not doing some of the routine things we usually do,” he added, referring to briefings on American security efforts and subjects in the news.

OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

FBI Probes Leak About U.S. Cyber Attack Program Aimed at Iran

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The hunt is on for the leak.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI has opened an investigation into a classified U.S. program that involved cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The New York Times ran an excerpt last week of a book by reporter David Sanger. It included details of the program and a computer worm Stuxnet, which Iran found on its computers, the Journal reported.

The Journal reported that the CIA ran the operation with the Idaho National Laboratory, the Israeli government and other U.S. agencies.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

CIA Foiled al Qaeda Plot to Blow Up U.S. Bound Airliner

By NBC News and msnbc.com staff

The CIA foiled a plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner around the one-year anniversary of the killing of its former leader Osama bin Laden, senior U.S. officials told NBC News.

Officials said the plot involved a bomb with a design that upgraded the underwear bomb taken aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. That explosive device failed to detonate.

The improved bomb had a more refined detonation mechanism, but was still intended to be hidden in a passenger’s underwear. Officials told NBC News the device was “totally non-metallic,” which would have made it more difficult to detect with traditional screening.

An official told NBC News no airlines were ever at risk. The plot was disrupted well before it threatened Americans or U.S. allies, the official added.

To read more click here.