The FBI recently searched a government contractor’s home, but some officials worry the Justice Department has lost its ‘appetite’ for leak cases
The FBI has identified an employee of a federal contracting firm suspected of being the so-called “second leaker” who turned over sensitive documents about the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list to a journalist closely associated with ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to law enforcement and intelligence sources who have been briefed on the case.
The FBI recently executed a search of the suspect’s home, and federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia have opened up a criminal investigation into the matter, the sources said.
But the case has also generated concerns among some within the U.S. intelligence community that top Justice Department officials — stung by criticism that they have been overzealous in pursuing leak cases — may now be more reluctant to bring criminal charges involving unauthorized disclosures to the news media, the sources said. One source, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said there was concern “there is no longer an appetite at Justice for these cases.”
Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Justice Department, declined to comment on the investigation into the watch-list leak, citing department rules involving pending cases.
As for the department’s overall commitment to pursue leak cases, he added: “We’re certainly going to follow the evidence wherever it leads us and take appropriate action.”
Another source familiar with the case said: “Investigators are continuing to pursue it, but are not ready to charge yet.”
The case in question involves an Aug. 5 story published by The Intercept, an investigative website co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who first published sensitive NSA documents obtained from Snowden.
Headlined “Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers,” the story cited a classified government document showing that nearly half the people on the U.S. government’s master terrorist screening database had “no recognized terrorist affiliation.”
The story, co-authored by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux, was accompanied by a document “obtained from a source in the intelligence community” providing details about the watch-listing system that were dated as late as August 2013, months after Snowden fled to Hong Kong and revealed himself as the leaker of thousands of top secret documents from the NSA.
This prompted immediate speculation that there was a “second leaker” inside the U.S. intelligence community providing material to Greenwald and his associates.
That point is highlighted in the last scene of the new documentary about Snowden released this weekend, called “Citizenfour,” directed by filmmaker Laura Poitras, a co-founder with Greenwald and Scahill of The Intercept.
Greenwald tells a visibly excited Snowden about a new source inside the U.S. intelligence community who is leaking documents. Greenwald then scribbles notes to Snowden about some of the details, including one briefly seen about the U.S. drone program and another containing a reference to the number of Americans on the watch list.
“The person is incredibly bold,” Snowden says. Replies Greenwald: “It was motivated by what you did.”
Click here for more.
SOURCE: Yahoo! News