Posts Tagged ‘Justice Department’

Whistle-blower Watch: DOJ ‘very likely’ to seek source of NSA leak in Verizon case

Federal whistle-blowers, beware. Attorney General Eric Holder is “very likely” to seek out the source who squeaked to the Guardian about the National Security Agency’s top secret phone record raid, according to an NBC correspondent who interviewed Attorney General Eric Holder about the Associated Press and Fox News subpoenas after the news broke.

The Guardian published a court order for the NSA to obtain Verizon customers’ phone records as well as a provocative article calling out the Obama administration’s “extreme interpretation of the law to engage in excessive domestic surveillance” on the evening of June 5. (See our previous post on the topic.)

But before the Guardian posted the order or the article, it said it approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Justice Department, all of which declined to comment or raise specific security concerns as to why the information should not be made public.

Even so, NBC News Justice correspondent Pete Williams, who appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” June 6 with Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, confirmed that the Justice Department will investigate who blew the whistle.

“I was told last night: definitely there will be a leak investigation,” Williams said.

But on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” later that morning, Williams backed away from such certainty, telling host Chuck Todd: “It seems highly likely this will trigger a leak investigation.”

The Huffington Post said a senior administration official told them Thursday morning that it’s too early to suggest an investigation will “definitely” take place.

Stay tuned for updates.

Kara Hackett is SPJ’s Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern, a freelance writer and a free press enthusiast. Contact her at or on Twitter: @KaraHackett.

FOI DAILY DOSE: Whistleblower Thomas Drake sentence includes no jail time, British Columbia launches open gov website

NSA whistleblower goes free

After the prosecution of National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake collapsed from felony-level charges to a plea bargain for a misdemeanor, Drake was sentenced to one year probation and 240 hours of community service July 15.

Judge Richard D. Bennett criticized the Justice Department for dragging out its investigation of Drake for years before dropping the bulk of the charges just days before the trial was to begin.

For a detailed account of Drake’s sentencing, check out this New York Times article.

The Government Accountability Project has also published a transcript of Drake’s statement to the press following his sentencing.


British Columbia first provincial gov to start open-data site

The government of British Columbia made almost 2,500 datasets publicly available Tuesday when it launched its open-data website.

Although much of the information was already previously available, the website makes it easier to access, according to a Vancouver Sun article.

British Columbia has also adopted an open-data license that will allow programmers to use government information without fear of being sued.

The province will also start posting FOI-requested data online here after the requester has had a minimum of four days to review the information beforehand – a caveat that will let reporters cover stories before others can gain access to the data.

For more information on this open government initiative, see this article from the Globe and Mail.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email ( or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26)


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