Friday, December 30, 2005
The Department of Justice announced that it has opened an investigation into the leak of information to the New York Times regarding the surveillance by the National Security Agency of domestic telephone calls. This investigation comes on top of inquiries into leaks regarding the covert status of CIA operative Valerie Plame and the disclosure of supposed secret prisons run by the CIA. White House spokesman Trent Duffy, speaking at the Crawford Middle School, explained (here) the rationale behind the latest investigation and the White House's role in it:
Q Is the White House the ones that requested the Justice Department investigation into the NSA leaks?
MR. DUFFY: No, as the President said, the Justice Department undertook this action on its own, which is the way it should be. The President spoke directly about how he felt about the leaking of classified information, and the White House was informed of the decision, as was the President. And you have his own words about how he feels about the leaking of classified information. I think it's plain to say that the terrorists want to strike America again and they hope to inflict even greater damage than they did on September the 11th. The leaking of classified information is a serious issue. The fact is that al Qaeda's playbook is not printed on page one, and when America's is, it has serious ramifications. You don't need to be Sun Tzu to understand that. (Laughter.)
Somehow, sports analogies don't seem quite appropriate when talking about terrorism and civil liberties. Whether this leak investigation will be successful remains to be seen, although the Plame investigation shows the extent to which prosecutors will seek to ferret out information from the media. (ph)