Possible Pentagon Destruction of Evidence in NSA Leak Case Probed

The PentagonTwo government watchdog agencies are investigating whether the Pentagon inspector general destroyed evidence improperly during the high-profile leak investigation of former National Security Agency senior official Thomas Drake.

The Justice Department acknowledged the probes in a letter last week to a federal magistrate judge who recently received the allegations from Drake’s lawyers. The judge is determining whether she should take further action in a case that ended in 2011 when Drake pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

The Justice Department told the judge the inquiries are being conducted by a committee that looks into allegations of misconduct by inspectors general offices and the Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency that investigates whistleblower complaints.

“DOD OIG’s handling of documents … is within the scope of an ongoing inquiry by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC),” Raymond Hulser, the chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, wrote to U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher in a letter dated June 11. “In the event that OSC finds evidence of criminal conduct during the course of its work, it will refer that evidence to the Department of Justice for appropriate action.”

The pair of executive branch probes renews questions about the federal government’s controversial pursuit of Drake on charges that he improperly retained classified information under the Espionage Act. (Read more from “Possible Pentagon Destruction of Evidence in NSA Leak Case Probed” HERE)

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