FBI Raids House Of 'Second Leaker' Who Provided Terrorist Watchlist Documents To The Intercept

from the FBI's-'Leak-Repair-Kit'-swings-into-action dept

The government appears to have located the “second leaker.” Snowden obviously still remains out of reach in Russia, but the other leaker — one hinted at over the past few months and confirmed in Laura Poitras’ Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” — seems to have been identified by the FBI. Michael Isikoff at Yahoo News breaks the news.

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.

Once again, we’re limited to anonymous “sources” and other unconfirmable information, but it seems the target of the raid was behind the leak of documents related to the federal government’s terrorist watchlist program, published by The Intercept on August 5th. This was the same story the government attempted to defuse by leaking an official version to the Associate Press shortly before the Intercept’s article went live.

Shortly after publication, government officials began to openly speculate about the existence of a second leaker, something others had been hinting at for weeks after a run of leaked documents at German news site Der Spiegel, none of which were attributed to Ed Snowden.

If the feds have their man, we’ll get to see whether this administration will continue its record-setting pace for prosecuting whistleblowers. A hint dropped by one unnamed official suggests the DOJ may not be quite as enthusiastic about leaks punishment as it once was.

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.”

Maybe not, but it’s highly unlikely this case will slide if the leaker is caught. First off, there have been no statements from anyone with the requisite amount of power that the US government has softened its stance on Snowden’s leaks. As far as they’re concerned, he’s still a criminal. The documents leaked by the second leaker may not have been as sensitive as those leaked by Snowden, but they still contain information the government wished to withhold. Add to that the ongoing prosecution of journalist James Risen and the recent sentencing of Chelsea Manning, and you still have an environment highly hostile to leaky government employees.

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Comments on “FBI Raids House Of 'Second Leaker' Who Provided Terrorist Watchlist Documents To The Intercept”

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38 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

I can see this going two ways:

1) They try and make things look as nice and ‘fair’ as possible, so they have at least one example to point to to defend their perse- oh I’m sorry, I meant ‘prosecution’, of whistleblowers. Defenders then try and use this single example as justification to continue to insist that Snowden should return to the US, since clearly the USG can be trusted to play fair regarding someone who made them look bad.

Odds of this happening, based upon previous actions: Extremely unlikely.

2) As Sorrykb mentions, they take their anger and frustration over not being able to ‘punish’ Snowden out on the second leaker, and do everything possible to crush them.

Even if they manage to restrain themselves, past actions indicate that they will still do everything in their power to make the poor sap’s life a living hell from here on out, in order to send a message to other prospective whistleblowers who might be thinking of ‘making the government look bad’.

Odds of this happening: All but certain.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The US spook patrol display self-restraint, planning, and cleverness? The same guys that were screaming for Snowden to be executed because he revealed corruption and fraud?

Not a chance. They’re too mustache-twirlingly, cartoonishly evil. Given the choice between profiting in the long term and indulging themselves in the short term, they’ll always be more than happy to burn their bridges behind them to get what they want right now.

They’re more than petty enough to still have their knickers in a twist over not being able to put Snowden’s head on a pike in the White House lawn. They NEED to assuage their egos. Nothing will be able to stop them from making an example out of this guy. If there IS a plan to try to look good as bait for Snowden, it’ll probably result in infighting when some of them won’t be able to stop themselves from ignoring the plan and ruining the guy’s life anyway.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh they wouldn’t be doing it for his sake, any restraint would be nothing more than PR, and an attempt to bait the trap by providing an ‘example’ of the USG showing restraint against a whistleblower, so they can use it to smear Snowden for refusing to come back and/or put himself in a position to be grabbed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Another fall guy or another hemorrhoid?

Is this just another fall guy as the FBI’s famous terrorist inspired setups were? None the less it gets increasingly difficult to deny their hemorrhoids now that we have all seen “the kings new cloths”. If it all secret we will know it surely is yet another scam, their reputation precedes them and little or nothing they say can be taken at face value.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

We've identified him but not captured him?

That indicates a third and forth scenario, based on he just disappears.

3) He just disappears. We’ve had ex-nazis and ex-spies do this from time to time. If he’s an especially gray fellow he may be able to blend in any place he’s hiding.

4) He just disappears, but in this case, our government decides that any kind of trial would be too ugly after the recent string of whistle-blowers strung for espionage, in which case he’ll be rendered to some hellish black-site and then tortured for the rest of his days as they try to uncover further suspects.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: We've identified him but not captured him?

Come now, you really expect us to believe that the government would throw someone who’s made them look bad into a cell and/or hellish conditions in order to ‘punish’ them and get them to talk?

That’s crazy talk that is. What next, claiming that the paragon-of-virtue-CIA has been involved in torturing prisoners?

Anonymous Coward says:

No appetite, huh?

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.”

So if “there is no longer an appetite at Justice for these cases”, and they still manage to round up the requisite goons to trash this guy’s house, what happens when they get their appetite back? “Accidental” SWAT raids until the guy gets killed responding to the home invasion?

Cal (profile) says:

The CRIMINALS are those who serve within our government and did those things. The “HERO” is the person (people) who told of those CRIMINAL activities.

The only way to stop the persecutions of Whistle – blowers is the ARREST and PROSECUTE the government criminals or they will keep injuring, murdering, and/or imprisoning those who let us know of those who are serving dishonest crimianl behavior.

yourmom (profile) says:

“Investigators are continuing to pursue it, but are not ready to charge yet.”

I hate to say it, but even he isn’t the guy, and he is not already out of the country, he is toast. If they can’t get Snowden, they’re gonna nail someone to the cross.

Just look at Thomas Drake. From what I have read, he works at an Apple store now. He has so much he could offer, and nobody will touch him outside of a very liberal retail vendor.

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