FBI raids home of former DoJ lawyer suspected of leaking surveillance program

Under a classified search warrant, they seized Thomas Tamm’s desktop computer, two of his children’s laptops and a cache of personal files.

:confused: Why, at a juncture when the Admin should be trying to look as nonthreatening as possible WRT this whole business, are they bothering with this? Even if Tamm was the leaker, he’s no longer working at DoJ and no longer a secrecy risk. Why rake up the coals? Why remind the public that there were internal protests over the program?

Well, to discourage people from doing similar things in the future, for one. The administration probably thinks the public is more on its side when it comes to the warrantless wiretapping issue, so I don’t think they mind so much that it’s in the news.

What John Mace said. Also, there’s the fact that most people don’t know anything about the wiretapping case to begin with, let alone this little side story. And even if they did, what of it?

Dept. of Justice must investigate Rep. John Boehner for possibly leaking classified info.

Does anyone think Justice will jump onto this leak?

Of course not. Justice Department officials serve at the pleasure of the President, and it is the President’s pleasure that political allies be protected and enemies be persecuted. Next silly question?

This is the difficult part about dealing with classified matters: anything involving the secrecy of eavesdropping methods is very highly classified and there is a whole special section of law related to protection of communications intelligence (18 USC 641), much in the way there is a special section of law relating to disclosure of the identities of CIA operatives. Disclosure of this kind of information is absolutely, unquestionably, without a doubt a violation of that law.

However, in the absence of any specific information about what effects the disclosure of the program may have had on tracking down real terrorists, I certainly see that the public has an compelling interest in knowing this kind of information. It is very hard to see how the disclosure of the controversy about the legality of the program hasn’t greatly served the public interest.

So we have someone who allegedly broke the law, but the country is probably much better off, in balance, for knowing that the President may have seriously abused his power. Where does it leave us? Most journalists have the conviction to go to jail to protect their sources. Maybe civil servants ought to share the same devotion to their cause: if you’re willing to break the law, even if it is for the perceived benefit of the country, maybe you shouldn’t pretend that you didn’t do something illegal, and accept the punishment.

Of course, I have no idea if this guy was the leaker; I’m just stating a general principle.