BREAKING NEWS ~ DOJ launches probe into domestic surveillance program leak Bernard Hibbitts at 10:43 AM ET
[JURIST] AP is reporting that the US Department of Justice has begun an investigation into the leak of classified information about President Bush's secret domestic surveillance [JURIST news archive] program first disclosed [JURIST report] in a New York Times article earlier this month.
10:53 AM ET - Justice Department officials revealed the existence of the probe on condition of anonymity, given its sensitive subject matter. AP has more.
11:58 AM ET - The DOJ launched the probe after receiving an official request from the National Security Agency [official website], which has been conducting the domestic intercepts. This is the second major leak investigation involving the Bush administration; Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is still leading a probe into the alleged White House leak of the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame [JURIST news archive]. AP has additional coverage.
2:47 PM ET - In a statement [text] responding to the announcement of the probe, the American Civil Liberties Union Friday called for US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to call off the investigation, saying:
President Bush broke the law and lied to the American people when he unilaterally authorized secret wiretaps of U.S. citizens. But rather than focus on this constitutional crisis, Attorney General Gonzales is cracking down on critics of his friend and boss. Our nation is strengthened, not weakened, by those whistleblowers who are courageous enough to speak out on violations of the law.
The ACLU has already called [Dec. 21 letter to Gonzales] for the appointment of an outside special counsel to investigate and prosecute officials who authorized warrantless domestic surveillance.
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