Why Isn’t Neil MacBride Investigating the Alleged UndieBomb 2.0 Leak?

I’ll have more general comments about today’s Senate Judiciary Committee oversight scrum and what it says about leak investigations. But I want to note a very small point Eric Holder made.

When trying to explain to the Republicans why it made sense for DC US Attorney Ronald Machen and Maryland US Attorney Rod Rosenstein, he said there parts of the matters under investigation in their districts. In other words, he assigned the US Attorneys according to jurisdiction (or, to be cynical, he just made a big show of having the people who should investigate these matters anyway investigate them).

But consider. The three alleged leaks that might be investigated are:

  • UndieBomb 2.0
  • StuxNet
  • Drone targeting

Now, StuxNet is easy. Rosenstein’s district includes NSA; StuxNet is a NSA project; therefore it’s probably safe to assume he’s investigating that alleged leak.

Then things get confusing. It would make sense to investigate drone targeting in DC, which is where stories portrayed the Terror Tuesday meetings occurring, and therefore to have Machen lead that investigation, and that may well be happening. Though drone targeting is the one alleged leak that public reports haven’t made clear have been included in the scope of the investigations. Let’s just assume that if drone targeting is being investigated, it is being done by Machen.

I’m more confused still about who is investigating the UndieBomb 2.0 alleged leak. There seems to be little doubt that alleged leak is being investigated. But why isn’t being investigated in Eastern District of VA?

CIA thwarted a plot!!! the headlines read, until it became clear that it was really a Saudi investigation and it wasn’t a plot but a sting. Yet the CIA was definitely involved, at least according to all the reporting on the story. And the US Attorney from EDVA–Neil MacBride–would have a jurisdiction over CIA issues that is just as strong as the US Attorney from MD’s jurisdiction over NSA investigations.

These spooky agencies like keeping their investigations close to home.

So why didn’t Holder include MacBride in the dog-and-pony show last week?

There are several possibilities, all curious:

  • FBI has reason to believe the main leak did come from John Brennan’s conference call with Richard Clarke and Fran Fragos Townsend, which he placed from the White House
  • The op wasn’t run out of CIA after all, but was instead liaised with the Saudis through the NSC or State
  • The story never really existed, and the Saudis just fed us the story of an UndieBomb to give an excuse to start bombing insurgents in Yemen

Maybe there’s some entirely different, completely bureaucratically boring explanation. But Holder’s comment about district based selection (he didn’t use the word jurisdiction, though) suggests it should have been logical for MacBride to take the lead on UndieBomb 2.0. But he isn’t.

Why not?

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3 Responses to Why Isn’t Neil MacBride Investigating the Alleged UndieBomb 2.0 Leak?

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @djsziff Woof!
2mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Reillax @Popehat @adamsteinbaugh Was initially submitted as a "notice of claim" to school dist in 2014. Denied. Now want teacher personally
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Reillax @adamsteinbaugh Ha! I have been actually trying to figure out that path, but see absolutely nuthin.
8mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Holy crap, I so love the internet. https://t.co/CoJHeU2Z04
37mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@djsziff No, think unlikely. Which is not to say that the dog is not a hell of a lot brighter and more competent than AZ authorities.
49mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Um, can the internet outrage machine please make up their mind about the sexual identity and live/dead status of Jericho? #ComeOnBuffoons
50mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @goldietaylor: Boycott Stone Mountain Park, not the city.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV RT @goldietaylor: I can guarantee you those flag protesters don't live in Stone Mountain.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @adamsteinbaugh Oh, I can get it, I am just starting, ad a little frustrated with the itinerancy of the plaintiffs' counsel so far. Total BS
1hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV @TBTimes_Rays Dumping Jepsen to call up Yates strikes me as worst #Rays move of the season.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Reillax @Popehat @adamsteinbaugh FYI, subject school dist was served w/notice of claim, but neither they nor Plaintiffs will cough it up.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Reillax @Popehat @adamsteinbaugh No waiver. Indemnification unclear b/c of §10 of this statute re: "owner" http://t.co/BE6V2Mt5l1
1hreplyretweetfavorite
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