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FBI Spent 44 Months Probing Leak To The Smoking Gun

Published: May 17, 2013
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Source: The Smoking Gun

In response to The Smoking Gun’s publication of a classified CIA terrorism report, the Department of Justice launched a lengthy leak investigation that included subpoenaed telephone records, interviews with dozens of government officials, polygraph and computer examinations, and “a fair amount of time trying to dig up information about the site itself,” according to FBI records.

The federal probe is detailed--albeit in a significantly redacted fashion--in 682 pages of FBI records released last month. More than 350 other pages related to the criminal probe were withheld in their entirety by bureau officials who processed a Freedom of Information Act request filed by a TSG reporter.


The FBI investigation, run by Washington, D.C.-based counterintelligence agents, sought to determine who provided TSG with a 12-page CIA report detailing the organizing activities of al-Qaeda members imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay (and the U.S. government’s inability to effectively combat these efforts).

The classified document, which can be found here, includes sensitive material from several U.S. intelligence organizations and their foreign counterparts.

The federal probe--code-named “Stubborn Ways”--was launched shortly after TSG’s July 2006 publication of the CIA report. The case remained open for three years and eight months, spanning the Bush and Obama administrations. It was formally closed in March 2010 when, after much internal debate, the Department of Justice’s Counterespionage Section declined to authorize a subpoena--sought by the FBI--compelling TSG’s editor to testify before a grand jury about its source.

During the course of the FBI investigation, agents interviewed 43 individuals, many of whom appear to have been CIA employees stationed at the agency’s Langley, Virginia headquarters. Other interviews were conducted in Boston; Cincinnati; New Mexico; Ohio; Maine; Nairobi, Kenya; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The criminal probe identified “one possible suspect,” an Arlington, Virginia woman who passed a polygraph exam to which she consented. The woman also apparently signed a consent form allowing investigators to search her computers.


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