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