Justice Department probes surveillance leak

The Justice Department has opened an investigation into whether classified information about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program was illegally disclosed, the Washington Post reported today.

The New York Times reported on the program two weeks ago, after holding the story for more than a year due to national security concerns.

Justice prosecutors will examine whether classified information was unlawfully disclosed to the New York Times, which reported two weeks ago that the National Security Agency had been conducting electronic surveillance on U.S. citizens and residents without court-approved warrants. . . .

The disclosure of the domestic spying program by the NSA, which is normally confined to overseas operations, has setoff a firestorm of criticism from civil liberties advocates and prompted plans for hearings on Capitol Hill. The secret program has also angered some judges on a special court that is supposed to oversee clandestine surveillance within the United States, including one who submitted his resignation.

In an unusual step, Bush has publicly acknowledged the program’s existence, has described details of its operation and has argued that the initiative is legal in a time of war. — Washington Post

It’s Bush’s department, what do you think will happen?

I would argue that disclosing an illegal government program must be protected, and Bush cannot hide behind “national security” excuses to justify it. Illegal is illegal, whether I do it or the President does.