Secrecy News

Leak Cases Move Forward

The Obama Administration’s aggressive pursuit of leakers who disclose classified information to the press or to other unauthorized persons is moving forward on multiple fronts.

Shamai Leibowitz, a former FBI linguist who pleaded guilty to the unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence information to an unidentified blogger, reported to prison this week, his attorney said (pdf).  Leibowitz has begun serving a twenty-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) – Low in Petersburg, Virginia.

Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency official who is suspected of having disclosed classified information to a reporter, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.  Last week a jury trial in his case was scheduled (pdf) to begin on March 21, 2011.

Last Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told ABC News that Wikileaks was “morally culpable” because its massive disclosure of classified Afghanistan war records may have placed at risk individual Afghans who were named in the documents.  “That’s where I think the verdict is guilty on WikiLeaks. They have put this out without any regard whatsoever for the consequences.”

Wikileaks spokesman Daniel Schmitt said there were too many classified documents in the leaked collection to permit a careful review of all of them.

“Asked why WikiLeaks did not review all of the Afghan war logs before releasing them last month to make sure that no Afghan informants or other innocent people were identified, Schmitt said that the volume of the material made it impossible,” according to an August 3 report by Philip Shenon in the Daily Beast.  Mr. Schmitt said that Wikileaks welcomed Pentagon assistance in processing other leaked records for release.

I offered some comments on the Wikileaks case on NPR’s “On the Media” show last week.