DOJ Continues Its “Multi-Subject” Investigation of WikiLeaks

As I noted some weeks ago, the judge in EPIC’s FOIA for materials on the investigation into supporters of WikiLeaks asked for an update. The government provided that update last night.

It said it still must withhold all documents responsive to EPIC’s FOIA because two investigations pertaining to WikiLeaks are ongoing: Chelsea Manning’s appeal, and the investigation into WikiLeaks proper.

There are at least two separate categories of “enforcement proceedings” relevant to defendants’ Exemption 7(A) analysis, and those two separate categories of law enforcement proceedings are progressing on different tracks. One set consists of those enforcement proceedings directly related to the military prosecution of Army Pfc. Manning, which falls within the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (“DoD”). Since this case was originally briefed, Manning was tried and convicted by a military court, as noted above. The court-martial remains ongoing, in the appellate phase.

The second type of enforcement proceeding, generally, is the DOJ’s civilian criminal/national security investigation(s) into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information that was published on the WikiLeaks website. The investigation of the unauthorized disclosure is a multi-subject investigation and is still active and ongoing. While there have been developments in the investigation over the last year, the investigation generally remains at the investigative stage. It is this second category of enforcement proceeding that is actually more central to defendants’ Exemption 7(A) withholdings in this case.

Note, DOJ says the investigation is “multi-subject.” Further, it describes it as an “civilian criminal/national security” investigation. It’s worth noting that the sealed declaration providing more detail on the investigation comes from Mark Bradley, in DOJ’s National Security Division, not from FBI. (I take my observation that the sealed declaration is from Bradley back: the motion is inconsistent on whom the sealed declaration is from. While the table on page 4 lists Bradley, it says the declaration is from FBI. The reference to a fourth declaration from David Hardy on page 9 suggests the declaration is from him.)

I’ll have a bit more to say about this later.

Update: One more observation: the description says there are “at least two” separate categories, suggesting there may be still another investigative matter.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

9 replies
  1. Anonsters says:

    Just going on what you posted (perhaps there’s more internal evidence elsewhere to support your interpretation), I think it’s more natural to read the “at least two” part as saying, there’s the military bit with Manning, then there’s the civilian bit. Making at least two. But there could be more than two depending on how we choose to chunk “the DOJ’s civilian criminal/national security investigation(s).” That is, if we make criminal investigations a second category unto itself, we could claim there’s a third category of investigation, too: the DOJ’s “national security investigation.”

  2. Joanne Leon says:

    IANAL, so a couple of maybe dumb questions for anyone who might feel like answering:

    – What does multi-subject investigation mean?

    – Does this documentation imply more than one agency is investigating wikileaks?

    – If DOJ national security division is investigating, would this be a US atty, and would it be the same one that had (and might still have) a grand jury convened?

    – when they say “the investigation generally remains at the investigative stage” does that mean that there have been no sealed indictments?

    Another question, as an aside, does anyone know what the record is for length of time a grand jury has been kept for an investigation?

  3. chronicle says:

    quote”That is, if we make criminal investigations a second category unto itself, we could claim there’s a third category of investigation, too: the DOJ’s “national security investigation.”unquote

    ummm first…who is this “we” you speak of. I assume the DOJ will listen to ..ahem…we. right. Next … let me get this straight for the sake of sanity. Are you saying.. once you figure out and prove there is more than 2 “catagories”,…that some how…we have the power to do..what? please…spare me.

  4. chronicle says:

    note to self…file under

    Another analysis that given time… will disappear into the ethos without one shred of power to change a goddamn thing.

      • orionATL says:

        chronicle’s “point” is always the same – to disrupt the flow of commentary by posting multiply pointless comments

        in short, chronicle is a troll.

        i suspect his attempt to disrupt is a personal feud with emptywheel and not especially ideological. i also suspect he is one of two reincarnstions of the apparently deceased frank33. the palindrome is the other.

        why these two are allowed to continue what is analogous to a denial of service attack on this site is hard for me to understand. theirs is entirely empty-calorie commentary.

      • Anonsters says:

        Maybe he actually had a really deep cultural-critical point about EW’s analyses becoming part of the underlying spirit of the culture. Her analyses are disappearing into the ethos!

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