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Investigation into leak of domestic surveillance program expands

[JURIST] The criminal investigation into government leaks which led to the New York Times' disclosure [JURIST report] of the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program [JURIST archive] is expanding, as federal agents have increased the number of interviews of law enforcement and national security officials. Those close to the investigation have suggested that the investigation may lead to a grand jury inquiry and criminal charges for violating espionage laws that bar the disclosure or dissemination of national security information. CIA Director Porter Goss published an op-ed [text] in the New York Times on Friday criticizing federal agents who leaked information to the media about the surveillance program and also expressed his hope that a grand jury hearing would include reporters who reveal their agency sources. The Times executive editor has said that no one at the paper has yet been contacted in connection with the investigation.

The Department of Justice launched the investigation [JURIST report] at the end of last year at the request of NSA officials. Meanwhile, critics in Washington continue to press arguments that the domestic eavesdropping violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) [text], though the administration has continued its strong defense of the program, most recently with testimony [JURIST report] from US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official website] before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Earlier this week, US Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) [official website] called for a review of FISA [JURIST report] and US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] announced plans to introduce a bill that would require court supervision of the surveillance program. The New York Times has more.

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