Obama DOJ Prosecutes FBI Linguist For Leaking


The Obama administration's crackdown on leaks to the press has snared a high-profile conviction of an FBI linguist, who was sentenced to 20 months in prison Monday after pleading guilty to giving classified information to a blogger.

The sentence for Shamai Leibowitz is likely to become the longest ever served by a government employee accused of passing national security secrets to a member of the media. His case represents only the third known conviction in U.S. history for a government official or contractor providing classified information to the press.

Whole story here.

Hat Tip: Alan Vanneman.

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  1. too bad Leibowitz wasn’t a more cunning linguist: he might not have been licked so easy.

  2. OK but – unless you are revealing some major criminal/sinister activity and you have exhausted all reasonable in-house avenues of resolution, should a leaker of classified informtion really go unpunished? Leibowitz himself acknowledges he should have gone to an internal inspector general first. Unless you’re an anarchist (hi guys!) you must acknowledge the government must able to keep SOME information private to perform its legitimate duties.

    1. The difficulty in that is that “national security” is used as an umbrella for a lot of information that shouldn’t be classified.

      1. No argument there. But without knowing more details – starting with what exactly was leaked – I think its too soon to pass judgement here.

        1. Even the judge doesn’t know what’s in the documents, only that Leibowitz pleaded guilty to the charge.

          However, [U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams Jr.] said he really didn’t know much about what Leibowitz leaked. “I’m not a part and parcel of the intricacies of that….I don’t know what was divulged, other than some documents,” Williams said.

          Williams went on to say that he believed “it was a very, very serious offense.” The judge said “it had to be” because prosecutors had filed such a serious felony charge, that could have carried a sentence under federal guidelines of 46 to 57 months, and because the defense agreed a 20-month sentence was appropriate. Williams said he was “reasonably satisfied” the sentence was fair, notwithstanding his lack of knowledge about the underlying facts.

          1. There’s simply no way the courts can act as a check on executive action when “national security” can be used to prevent even in camera review. This stuff is loony. I’m not saying there’s never an exception to this (we’re invading tomorrow!), but I think those exceptions are more about timing the judge’s access to the information, not the access itself.

          2. Wait, if the documents were in fact leaked, why don’t we know what they were? Doesn’t a leak mean that they were made public?

            1. Those who saw them have been deleted.

          3. That’s absolutely insane.

      2. How many millions of fuck ups, large and small have been classified?

        1. I suggest you submit an FOIA request asking exactly that.

          1. I agree w/ the other alan. Not all leaks are equal. Hell, some leaks are noble acts, others not so much.

            1. That is certainly true, but there should be a judge or someone who can decide whether it was the good kind or the bad kind.

              1. You know what? I’ll do it. What’s it pay?

  3. They are very smart people, after all, and occasionally very smart people kill a couple of hookers and a whole boatload of dogs. In the interest of national security, of course. But of course the plebeians would riot if they learned, because for some reason the plebeians are so attached to their damn dogs, so we need to keep the plebeians safe from themselves. Why should you bother questioning them? They’re democratically elected, dammit, that means they can do whatever the hell they want!

  4. Obama DOJ Prosecutes FBI Linguist For Leaking

    Can you blame the guy? The restrooms over there are disgusting.

  5. Open Government in the Age of Obama.

  6. Whole story here.


    Is this the same charge he pleaded guilty to last year and was sentenced (gladly sentenced, he said) to the same amount of time for? It sounds like it. So what the fuck happened? What was he “convicted” of? Where’d the deal go?

    Did the DOJ rescind the deal and show-trial their way back to it so they could get some “Obama DOJ Prosecutes FBI Linguist For Leaking” headlines for the same fucking deal? Was the defense in on it? Was there even a trial? What the fuck’s going on? WHAT HAPPENED, MOTHERFUCKER?! GODDAMMIT!

    Reporters are useless (to us).

    1. Yes, it’s the same charge, and yes, he was just sentenced today to what he pleaded guilty to. So either he technically wasn’t convicted, or he really pleaded nolo contendere, I guess.

  7. Too bad he didn’t leak the info and cut a deal while Bush as in office, then the press would call him a whistleblower and the DOJ would complain that he should be in prison, but not actually send him there.

    1. Yeah, when are those who leaked to the New Nork Times going to be found and prosecuted?

  8. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim.

  9. I wonder how Haliburton deals with leaker of secret information.

    1. They probably troll his blog with stupid questions.

    2. What’s a Haliburton?

      1. I had some delicious grilled Haliburton last night for dinner. Unfortunately its friends shot up my house later.

        1. Oh right! Like Haliburton and Chips! I like that too.

    3. I know you are just a piece of shit troll who contributes nothing, so it is probably pointless to ask, but what does that have to do with anything?

  10. You wouldn’t have expected the Holder Justice Department to be particularly hawkish in these matters.

    Hmm. Why so secret?

  11. Umm, the guy’s name is Liebowitz. Possible clue?

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