Question: Will Dianne Feinstein Investigate Her Own Leak Of Classified Info? Will She Face Espionage Act Charges?

from the just-asking... dept

So, we just discussed how it appears that Dianne Feinstein accidentally confirmed what was widely suspected: that the NSA is tapping the internet backbone to get access to emails. This is interesting on many levels, not the least of which is that Feinstein herself has been famously harsh against any kind of leak, regularly arguing that the leaks themselves are more damaging than what the leaks may reveal about US government abuse. In the past, Feinstein has raged against leakers:

In a televised interview Wednesday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein repeatedly vented her ire over leaks of classified information and she signaled that she favors a more aggressive crackdown on those who are passing national security secrets to the press.

“What we’re seeing…is an Anschluss, an avalanche of leaks. And it’s very, very disturbing. You know, it’s dismayed our allies. It puts American lives in jeopardy. It puts our nation’s security in jeopardy,” Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on CNN’s “Situation Room” program.

Similarly, she has argued that Ed Snowden is a “traitor” for revealing information, though unlike her, he didn’t reveal this particular program (or at least it hasn’t been reported on yet).

Meanwhile, the Senate’s current rules on revealing classified information suggest that an investigation is warranted:

The Senate Office of Security and the House counterpart are charged with investigating or coordinating investigations of suspected security violations by employees. In addition, investigations by the House and Senate Ethics Committees of suspected breaches of security are authorized by each chamber’s rules, directly and indirectly. The Senate Ethics Committee, importantly, has the broad duty to “receive complaints and investigate allegations of improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate, violations of law, violations of the Senate Code of Official Conduct, and violations of rules and regulations of the Senate.” The panel is also directed “to investigate any unauthorized disclosure of intelligence information [from the Senate Intelligence Committee] by a Member, officer or employee of the Senate.”

If, for example, Senator Wyden had ever actually revealed the details of any classified program (as some had urged him to do), you can rest assured that such an investigation (along with a public tarring and feathering) would likely have occurred. It’s also unlikely that he would be allowed to remain on the Intelligence Committee.

So, will Senator Feinstein call for an investigation into her own leak? Will she call herself a traitor? We’ll see…

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Comments on “Question: Will Dianne Feinstein Investigate Her Own Leak Of Classified Info? Will She Face Espionage Act Charges?”

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bigpicture says:

Re: Democracy

Jimmy Carter was right when he said “Democracy is essentially dead”. The Founding Fathers created a set of guidelines and laws for governance ethics and practices.

A set of Principles against which all government practices and conduct could be measured. One of the key principles being that the government and the armed forces serve the people, (accountable to the people) and NOT the people including the armed forces serving or accountable to the government.

How can the government be accountable if there is secrecy about what they are doing? So they have this thing called “National Security” a great big basket in which they can hide just about anything they please, and heaven help anyone who contradicts them on what should be in the basket.

Unless something is done about it, they will soon be hiding all forms of corruption, and Constitutional crimes in that basket. They will soon be hiding their expense accounts and all other forms of corruption in there, protected from audit.

The armed forces are sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution, and the President is the Commander In Chief, What is he doing to defend the Constitution? Defend the Rights of the People against these Constitutional crimes?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Democracy



1. Armed services accountable to the government, IE if a member of the services lies to the government it is illegal, possibly treason, (general rule, be careful enumerating exceptions).

2. Government is accountable to the people, IE if a member of the government lies, possibly slanderous, possibly treason (general rule, be careful enumerating exceptions these guys are lawyers).

3. The People are taxpayers, If the government allocates taxes the people expect it spent in a way that builds up the nation (general rule, Money is like oxygen, you can get oxygen poisoning. Some parts of government are starved of money, other parts like the NSA Get more than one budget allocation.)

Dibs on Reality (profile) says:

“So, will Senator Feinstein call for an investigation into her own leak? Will she call herself a traitor? We’ll see… “

Though I realize this is a rhetorical question, a serious answer is warranted.


I believe Senator Feinstein is a Platinum Charter Member of the “Do as I say DAMMIT! Not as I do” Society of Purchased Imperial “Public Servant” Righteous Royalty. She’s therefore immune to any of the consequences she would impose on others. Simple really. {sigh}

SolkeshNaranek says:


So, will Senator Feinstein call for an investigation into her own leak? Will she call herself a traitor?

I think Feinstein has long since sold her dignity, discarded her moral compass, and offloaded her self respect.

It is folly to even consider she has any introspection what so ever, and would care what the “little people” (citizens) think of her.

There is no way she would believe what she did to be wrong, and even if it was pointed out to her in no uncertain terms she would still deny any wrongdoing.

She considers herself above the law and incapable of doing anything illegal.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

And once again different rules for those in power.
High court/ Low court.

She does exactly what she decried, and will face nothing.

Anything she has to say now is pointless, do as I say not as I do is no way to be a leader.

Justice and the Rule of Law in this country is broken, and every day she doesn’t face the same charges she demands be applied to others highlights how screwed up the country is.

out_of_the_blue says:

NO, Mike. What part of Greenwald's "absolute immunity" don't you understand?

Greenwald, saying Wyden and Udall didn’t disclose on NSA: “despite the absolute immunity protection they enjoy as Senators under the Constitution”:

Which has this link:

“The U.S. Constitution guarantees that elected representatives “shall not be questioned in any other Place ? for any Speech or Debate in either House.” In other words, they cannot be prosecuted for reading classified material into the public record — and it is up to them, and them alone, to decide what is worth talking about.”

n your first link, you wrote: “during Thursday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Dianne Feinstein more or less admitted” — SO as Feinstein was in session and Greenwald says it’s “absolute immunity”, Ackerman agrees, and the bit you quote reads “by employees”, which Senators are NOT, the only possible conclusion is that you ginned this up out of ignorance. — But in any case, you don’t actually call for any action, just fade out into question and …

Typical way to end a week here at Techdirt, not even with a whimper, but only “…”

Mike Masnick on Techdirt: “its typical approach to these things: take something totally out of context, put some hysterical and inaccurate phrasing around it, dump an attention-grabbing headline on it and send it off to the press.”

Lurker Keith says:

Re: NO, Mike. What part of Greenwald's "absolute immunity" don't you understand?

You do realize this means the House & Senate are free to question Congresspersons about violations, right?

That is what is being asked about, if the Senate will do an internal investigation, which is totally w/in the bounds of the Constitution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Have another report vote ootb. Your bottom piece about Mike is exactly what gets you report voted. You accuse him of being out of context and you yourself are really far out there on the out of context limb constantly.

Again we will see the same sort of no actions that have so typically followed the in-crowd around. Those that believe the laws do not apply to them but do apply to the little people.

I wonder why the American people have no trust in their government when stuff like this is constantly being thrown in their face?

Loki says:

Similarly, she has argued that Ed Snowden is a “traitor” for revealing information,

What Feinstein, Mike Rogers, and the rest of these people simply cannot grasp is that this behavior is almost exactly what caused the colonies to declare independence from England.

And while they may consider Snowden’s actions traitorous, I, and anyone else who believe in the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, considers their action a betrayal of that document (and by extension the Constitution) as well as the 57 men who signed it.

In our eyes, they are the real traitors.

Anonymous Coward says:

The most obvious flaw

Well the most obvious flaw in Dianne Feinsteins thinking is “trust the NSA staff not abuse their position”
“NSA sysadmin Snowden is evil and abused his position”

NSA is made up of Snowdens. Some have swallowed the blue pill and are busy undermining privacy and democracies around the world, and others are the good guys who need to be watched night and day, lest they rat out their boss.

Ray Gulyas (profile) says:

Feinsten's leak

I charge the Senate Ethics Commite to bring criminal chages against Senator Feinstein for publicizing Classified information about the NSA spying program; specifically that the NSA acquiring information on Amrican citizens through the internet and personal and/or business emails, without a warrant or probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed or about to be committed.

She also MUST be charged with violation of the Espionage Act. Congressmen and Senators are subject to the law of the land, not above the law. Neither is obam above the law, but I digress. Jail the senator, strip her of all rights and privileges of her office, and no pension, ever. She should get a minimum of ten years in Federal prison.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why not just be honest

and say you have censored my posts because you don’t agree with what I have said ??

Do you do honestly ??

Or are you able to justify it somehow in your own mind, that somehow your abuse of censorship and free speech is ok for you ?? (but not anyone else) ?

Is it the power to crave, or is it just your inability to deal with people checking your work and calling you out when you are found lying ?

But don’t EVER try to convince me you don’t abuse those powers, you censor and are against FREE SPEECH.. how are you any better than anyone else, and what qualifies you to claim you are against censorship, and that you support free speech ??

I know you will censor this post with all the rest, but the questions are directed at you Masnick..

I guess you read them when you hold them for moderation for a week or so..

Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Don't be so hard on the old gal.

Everyone makes mistakes. I’d be perfectly happy to see Feinstein do the same hard time John Kiriakou is doing for disclosing the name of a CIA operative to a reporter, even though the operative’s name and identity were already widely known to journalists and the journalist in question did not publish the name. It’s not like Feinstein revealed US war crimes or years of perfidious US interference in the affairs of neutral countries and nominal allies. Then we could start talking about 30 years, life, or capital punishment.

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