Report: NSA formally asks DOJ to open criminal investigation into leaks

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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The National Security Agency has formally requested that the Department of Justice open a criminal investigation into the agency’s leaks, Reuters reported Saturday evening.

Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told Reuters that the NSA had filed a “crimes report” with the DOJ.

Turner did not return The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

Recent reports by The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal revealed a global secret surveillance initiative by the Obama administration and the NSA far beyond the scope of what was first warned about during the George W. Bush administration by The New York Times.

The Week then went on to report that the NSA is feeding off of information from at least 50 companies.

The Obama administration and various members of Congress in favor of the surveillance regime have spent the time since The Guardian’s initial story defending the program’s legality.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper even declassified select bits of information about the program in an attempt to ease public concerns raised by the reports, as well as denouncing alleged inaccuracies. The DNI made public a fact sheet [pdf] on data collection.

During sworn testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee March 12, Clapper, averting his eyes and rubbing his head, denied that the NSA was collecting data on millions of Americans.

Clapper’s statement came in response to a question from Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden.

Wyden: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

Clapper: “No, sir.”

Wyden: “It does not?”

Clapper: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently, perhaps, collect, but not wittingly.”

In an interview last week with National Journal, Clapper denied having made a false statement under oath, asserting that the NSA does not “voyeuristically pore through U.S. citizens’ e-mails” — a nuance that is irrelevant to both Wyden’s broadly framed question and Clapper’s conditioned response.

Meanwhile, the companies involved have also denied knowledge of the name of the surveillance program, defending the legality of any of their information sharing efforts with the federal government.

The New York Times, however, reported that the Silicon Valley companies named as partners did in fact concede to the federal government and “the companies were essentially asked to erect a locked mailbox and give the government the key.”

Glenn Greenwald, the author of the Guardian reports, appears undaunted by the threat of criminal action. In a tweet Sunday morning, Greenwald promised more revelations to come, taking specific aim at Clapper.

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