Another major element of the debate is over the government's surveillance powers. Finn, writing in the Post, said the FBI and prosecutors have "interviewed several current and former senior government officials in connection with the disclosures, sometimes confronting them with evidence of contact with journalists, according to people familiar with the probe."
"Investigators, they said, have conducted extensive analysis of the email accounts and phone records of current and former government officials in a search for links to journalists," he wrote.
The government does not need a warrant to look at government emails and phone records on government-issued devices. But, once it has any evidence of contact between a suspect and a journalist, it can then obtain a warrant to examine private email, phone and text records.
Gen. David H. Petraeus knows all about that. He resigned as CIA director after the FBI discovered emails in what he thought was an anonymous account, which implicated him in an extramarital affair.
Critics of the administration's tactics also contend that its investigation and prosecution of leaks is highly selective. They say the administration is a world-class leaker when it serves its interests.
"[The Obama administration] is a prolific exploiter of exactly those kinds of leaks -- when they can be used to propagandize the citizenry to glorify the president's image as a tough guy, advance his political goals or produce a multi-million-dollar Hollywood film about his greatest conquest ("Zero Dark Thirty," about the killing of Osama bin Laden)," The Guardian's Greenwald wrote.
While Westby supports the investigation into the Stuxnet leak, she says that today's technology means there are risks to individual privacy, partially because the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) "is very convoluted."
"If people want to ensure their constitutional rights are upheld against unlawful search and seizure and freedom of the press, they need to download all email into their laptop or servers and be sure it is deleted from all ISP servers," she said. Then it becomes a matter of search and seizure and probable cause and requires a court order."
"This is why reporters should never use Gmail or other email services that may, through their lengthy and also convoluted terms of service, say they can keep a copy for whatever purpose they want," she said.
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