Department of Homeland Security

Have the Feds Tracked Down the Terror Watchlist Guidance Leaker?


Maybe there will be another logo for catching leakers?
The Intercept

It looks like the FBI has a suspect in mind that may be responsible for leaking information about how the federal government organizes its watchlist of folks it fears might be terrorists. Courtesy of Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News, a private federal contractor is under investigation:

The FBI has identified an employee of a federal contracting firm suspected of being the so-called second leaker who turned over sensitive documents about the U.S. government's terrorist watch list to a journalist closely associated with ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to law enforcement and intelligence sources who have been briefed on the case.

The FBI recently executed a search of the suspect's home, and federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia have opened up a criminal investigation into the matter, the sources said.

Read more here, including debate over whether the Department of Justice has the stomach to attempt to jail another leaker/whistleblower, despite the bad publicity. (Prediction: Yes. Have you met the Department of Justice?) There is a connection to Edward Snowden, as Snowden's leaks may have inspired the guy.

I wrote about the leaking of these documents, which detail the circumstances by which federal and local officials eyeball and prod you to determine whether you plan to blow things up, back in July. To summarize the big points of controversy that might inspire somebody to leak the information: One, the standards for getting added to the watch list are pretty low, requiring "reasonable suspicion" of possibly engaging in any sort of crime that may involve damaging property; two, there is profiling on the list on the basis of "categories of people" and the possibility of elevating them to advanced examination without any evidence any of them are actually plotting anything; and three,  hundreds of thousands of people on the watchlists have no known ties to terrorist organizations.

Reason interviewed Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept about the information on the watchlist earlier in the summer. Watch below: