WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors are increasingly seizing on an anti-espionage law to pursue Americans suspected of divulging government secrets to the press, a major shift in the use of a 1917 law that was designed to stop leaks to America’s enemies.
Eleven times in U.S. history, all of them since 1971, federal prosecutors have brought charges under the Espionage Act for disclosing information to a newspaper, blog or other media outlet. Eight of the cases have occurred since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former FBI agent agreed on Monday to plead guilty and likely go to prison for telling a reporter about a U.S. operation to disrupt a bomb plot, becoming the latest government employee to face criminal charges for leaking official secrets.
The investigation that led to a plea agreement for Donald John Sachtleben, 55, of Carmel, Indiana, sparked a debate over press freedom when the Associated Press reported this year that, as part of the government probe, the Justice Department seized the news agency’s telephone records without its permission.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday that the U.S. budget stalemate may force him to put agents on furlough, leaving the agency, which investigates major crimes and national security threats, potentially short-handed.
Although the country’s major investigative agency avoided furloughs when the first round of automatic spending cuts took effect in March, “I can’t avoid it at this point,” Comey told reporters in a briefing at FBI headquarters. He said the bureau had already stopped training new agents.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The contract worker who opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard this week appeared to have no particular target as he moved through a building and shot and killed 12 people, FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday.
Comey, whose agency is leading the investigation into the shooting, said that in surveillance video the man identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis “appears to be moving without particular direction or purpose.”
WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – The surveillance court that
oversees the U.S. government’s massive collection of telephone
data gave its fullest defense to date on Tuesday of why it
considers the program lawful, despite the uproar after its
existence was made public in June.
In an opinion dated Aug. 29 and released on Tuesday, Judge
Claire Eagan of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
wrote that the program did not violate the basic privacy rights
of Americans and was authorized under the 2001 law known as the
WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) – U.S. law enforcement
agencies are in talks about steps they may take under federal
law to allow legal marijuana businesses to have access to bank
accounts, a Justice Department official said on Tuesday.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole said at a Senate
Judiciary Committee hearing that the existing situation of
marijuana shops operating on a cash-only basis created too many
dangers, such as possible robberies or fraud.
WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday set
a tentative Nov. 25 trial date in the U.S. government’s legal
challenge to an American Airlines merger with U.S.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who will try the case without
a jury, announced the date at a hearing in U.S. District Court.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge said on Friday that the trial of a U.S. government lawsuit to block an American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) merger with U.S. Airways Group Inc (LCC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) should take place before March, the date sought by the U.S. Justice Department.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said in open court: “March 3, I think, is too far off. It needs to be a tighter, expedited schedule.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a move marijuana advocates hailed as a historic shift, the Obama administration on Thursday began giving U.S. states wide leeway to experiment with pot legalization and started by letting Colorado and Washington carry out new laws permitting recreational use.
The Justice Department said it would refocus marijuana enforcement nationwide by bringing criminal charges only in eight defined areas – such as distribution to minors – and giving breathing room to users, growers and related businesses that have feared prosecution.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Robert Mueller sought on Wednesday to dispel any perception among Americans that the bureau and the Justice Department let bankers go free after they helped bring about the U.S. financial crisis.
The complexity of the crisis made it difficult to identify what crimes might have occurred and to explain to Americans why there was a scarcity of prosecutions on Wall Street, Mueller told reporters in response to questions about the crisis.