Feds Focus Investigation On Who Leaked Report Implicating Ex-CIA Boss For Intelligence Leak… Rather Than On Initial Leak

from the high-court-low-court dept

We’ve discussed the whole “high court/low court” concept here a few times before — in that those who are powerful play by one set of rules, while the rest of us have to play by a very different set of rules. Keep that in mind as you read the following.

A couple of years ago, then CIA boss Leon Panetta apparently revealed a bunch of classified information concerning the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound to filmmaker Mark Boal, who went on to write the screenplay for the film “Zero Dark Thirty.” Boal was the lone guest without security clearance at a speech Panetta gave revealing a bunch of details, including the identity of the ground commander of the Navy SEAL unit that executed the raid. And others in the raiding party were at the event, sitting in the front row with name tags. Panetta’s revealing of this info to Boal was revealed in a draft report by the Pentagon Inspector Generals’ office. Also in that report was the information that the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Michael Vickers, had disclosed classified names to both Boal and Kathryn Bigelow, who directed the film.

When the “official” Inspector General report came out, the initial findings that both Panetta and Vickers had revealed classified information had been scrubbed. It doesn’t blame either of them, even though the internal findings said they had, in fact, revealed that info. However, the draft report that implicated Panetta and Vickers was then leaked to reporters for newspaper giant McClatchy, as well as a non-profit, leading to Panetta and Vickers’ actions being publicly reported.

So… guess what the government is angry about? Is it those top officials revealing classified information to filmmakers? Or… is it government insiders revealing to the press that those top officials revealed classified information? Yes, you already know the answer. No one seems interested in doing anything about Panetta or Vickers. Rather, the government is “aggressively” trying to go after whoever released the draft report — even though the details in that report weren’t classified.

More than two years after sensitive information about the Osama bin Laden raid was disclosed to Hollywood filmmakers, Pentagon and CIA investigations haven’t publicly held anyone accountable despite internal findings that the leakers were former CIA Director Leon Panetta and the Defense Department’s top intelligence official.

Instead, the Pentagon Inspector General’s Office is working to root out who might have disclosed the findings on Panetta and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers to a nonprofit watchdog group and to McClatchy.

The report notes that the Inspector General’s office has been “grilling” a bunch of people, trying to dig out who revealed the draft report that named Panetta and Vickers.

The end result seems clear. If you’re super high up in the political chain, you get the high court. Reveal classified info to filmmakers? No worries. Not only will you not be prosecuted or even lose your job, the inspectors will scrub your name from the report and, according to the article, the person in charge of the investigation will “slow roll” the eventual release of the report until you switch jobs.

But if you’re just a worker bee and you leaked the unclassified draft report that names Panetta and Vickers? Well, you get the low court. A new investigation, including aggressive pursuit by the government, and interrogations of staffers to try to find out who leaked the report.

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Comments on “Feds Focus Investigation On Who Leaked Report Implicating Ex-CIA Boss For Intelligence Leak… Rather Than On Initial Leak”

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Anonymous Coward says:

When it comes to high-level government officials accepting responsibility, the United States is not much different from North Korea.

Even if the government is eventually forced to “investigate” the Panetta/Vickers leak, it’s bound to be blamed on some low-level grunts … or maybe, like the 911 Commission Report’s findings, that only “the system” was to blame.

Ryan says:

IG Findings

IG findings whether in draft or final form may not be classified, but certainly are classified as For Official Use Only. The leak of the draft report is a breach of confidential material and represents a breech of a professional standards.

Additionally at certain grades the release or exposure of classified information exempted by position or authority.

Anonymous Coward says:

Making out that the people who expose wrongdoing are the bad guys rather than those exceeding what is legal may be the hallmark and legacy of the present political administration. Perhaps it will be The Kill List with the killing of a US citizen who never got a fair trial, or placing armed guards at memorials because there isn’t funding. However that kind of budgeting works. Most likely it will be even more despicable things yet to come to light.

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