FBI uncovered 14 suspected leakers in five years

None of the accused were prosecuted, leaving administrative punishment as the only consequence

Topics: FBI, National security,

The FBI says it’s easy to complain about leaks, but hard to find the leakers.

U.S. intelligence agencies have made 183 complaints about unauthorized disclosure of classified information in the past five years, but the FBI has identified just 14 suspected leakers, none of whom has been prosecuted, according to data assembled by the Justice Department.

Despite getting 183 complaints, the FBI opened just 26 leak investigations, often because referrals from intelligence agencies lacked sufficient information to proceed, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

The starting point for a leak investigation is identifying everyone with authorized access to the information, and the most typical information gap is a failure to identify them all.

Even when investigators find a suspect, the leaker often cannot be identified beyond a reasonable doubt, as is required for a successful prosecution.

“Because indictments in media leak cases are so difficult to obtain, administrative action may be more suitable and may provide a better deterrent to leaks of classified information,” the FBI director said in April in response to questions from Senate Judiciary Committee member Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. Whitehouse had asked the questions following a Senate hearing last September.

Steven Aftergood, head of the Project on Government Secrecy, first reported on the leak probe data on Monday.

The Justice Department’s national security division oversees the work on all leak probes and the FBI has substantial discretion.

Even without a referral from another agency, the FBI can open an investigation whenever it becomes aware of a significant leak.

Administrative punishment is possible because the FBI is authorized to share the information from its investigations with the agency of the suspected leaker.

The numbers supplied to the Senate panel covered 2005 through 2009 — a period that came after the opening of the investigation into who in the Bush administration disclosed the CIA identity of Valerie Plame, the wife of Iraq war critic Joe Wilson. In 2007, a jury convicted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about Libby’s conversations with reporters regarding Plame. President George W. Bush commuted Libby’s 30-month prison term.



The time span covered by Mueller’s answers to Capitol Hill ended before the current prosecution of former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake for allegedly being the source for news articles about the agency, including some that contained classified information. Drake has pleaded not guilty.

Mueller’s responses to the Senate outlined some of the problems in tracking down leakers.

Classified information often can be properly disseminated to a large number of people in government, making identification of the leaker very unlikely, the Justice Department said.

Also, Justice Department policy requires that leak investigations focus on potential leakers rather than reporters, the recipients of leaks.

Balancing First Amendment freedoms with national security interests necessarily limits a prosecutor’s access to the reporter who received classified information, the Justice Department told Whitehouse and the judiciary committee.

The Plame probe saw a number of reporters called to the witness stand at Libby’s trial. Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller spent 85 days in jail rather than testify to a federal grand jury in the probe. She subsequently did so, and testified as well in open court at Libby’s criminal trial.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>