National Security Leaks: Why Only Some Are Prosecuted

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Attorney General Eric Holder. (AP)
Attorney General Eric Holder. (AP)

Supreme Court watchers are still buzzing over leaked reports that Chief Justice John Roberts might have switched his thinking on health care reform, from first siding with conservatives on the bench to swinging over to the liberal bloc.

If true, the leak would be as interesting as the switch. The Supreme Court is pretty water tight, unlike Congress and the White House, which can leak like sieves.

Debate Over Obama Administration Leaks

And now there are conflicting narratives about just how "leaky" the Obama administration is.

Jill Abramson, New York Times executive editor, recently accused the White House of stifling reporting by aggressively prosecuting leaks.

"The environment has never been tougher, information has never been harder to dislodge," Abramson said. But Republicans are accusing the White House of leaking information on everything from drone strikes to cyber warfare against Iran, to make the President look tough in an election year.

Why Some Leaks Are Investigated

Cora Currier of ProPublica reports that the Justice Department appears to be investigating a recent New York Times story about cyberwarfare with Iran, and an Associated Press story about a foiled underwear bomb plot out of Yemen.

But the department is not, on the other hand, investigating numerous leaks over the years about the CIA's drone program in Pakistan. Currier says that the Justice Department, in deciding which leaks to prosecute, must consider how much more classified information might come out in court.


  • Cora Currier, reporter for ProPublica

This segment aired on July 9, 2012.


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