Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Censure Durbin dot Org

I like politics. I like most politicians. I like almost all of them regardless of politics. Their's a tough job and Americans not an easy people to govern.

I shared a flight with Durbin to DC and I told him I thought he had tough job... and then he later uttered in the Senate the nonsense you can hear below...

...so I signed this today.

He just turns my stomach now in a way almost no other pol can do.

PS Durbin's current silence on Torture covered here and here.

Update: Maybe the anti-war crowd will be joining the censure too,

Six anti-war demonstrators were arrested Monday after refusing to leave U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's Loop office, police said.

The activists, from the Christian Peacemaker Teams, delivered a letter Monday afternoon to Durbin's office in the Kluczynski Federal Building, 230 S. Dearborn St., and asked him to make a public statement condemning U.S. military aid to Israel, team member Nils Dyvig said. When the activists did not get an answer, they declined to leave, Dyvig said.
HT yinn at SoapBlog Chicago


So-Called Austin Mayor 11:05 AM  

I have nothing to add to Eric Zorn's thoughts on this topic, which can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/m4p2x

Buck Turgidson,  11:22 AM  


G**damned idiotic.

War on false pretense and with no plan - in spite of repeated reports by Generals on the ground asking for what they need to win. Billions unaccounted for. No bid contracts for donors. Tough talk for the one member of the "Axis of Evil" without weapons, wimpy doublespeak for the one that has them. Spying on American citizens. Frist sells off stock right before it plunges. FEMA woefully unprepared, and the executive branch ignores them in the Gulf Coast. Charles Jefferson takes $100k from a fed. A CIA operative outed for political reasons. Science repeatedly ignored. Presidential signing memos defying the constitution. Veterans benefits cut. Raping the environment and calling it "Clear skies" or "healthy forests." Doling out important, supposedly untouchable security funds as political goodies to offer flea markets and Whiskey Festivals the same level of protection as the Holland Tunnel or the Statue of Liberty. Race baiting your Republican opponent. Lying about your relationship with a corrupt lobbyist. Lying about your relationship with a corrupt (and now conveniently deceased - and NO, I'm not calling it murder, I'll leave that to the anti-Clinton crazies). Taking a family medical decision away from a family and politicizing the life of an actual human being. Attacking war veterans' patriotism while simultaneously wrapping yourself in the flag.

I could go on, but its pointless.

And you want to censure Durbin for a statement that, while perhaps impolitic, was taken wildly out of context by right wing liars (because, really, what else can you call them)?


Oh, and really timely too.

Anonymous,  11:32 AM  

"their's is a tough job"....what???? Boo freaking hoo. No one told these people to run for office, so give me a break>

bored now,  11:38 AM  

i guess freedom of speech is dead. this petition tells me so.

so what is it that are we fighting for? because it sure sounds like there's a lot of people in this country who would like to bury the constitution. god forbid that it protect dick durbin!

Skeeter 12:08 PM  

If you sign the petition you are either a partisan hack or a fool.

Tony 12:13 PM  

I'm heading out to D.C. next month, and I'm hoping to make it to the Nat'l Archives -- just to make sure the ol' Constitution is still there. Boy, what a bunch of silly, left-wing queers those Founding Fathers must have been. This group moving to censure Durbin make the rest of us Repubs look bad. Idiots.

bored now,  12:16 PM  

don't dismiss the possibility that you could be both.

the Other Anonymous,  12:26 PM  

He said this, what, about a year ago? And didn't he publicly apologize?

Geez, dude, let it go. It's not like Durbin lied about a war, spied on US citizens, condoned torture by US troops, filled an emergency management agency with incompetent political hacks . . .

Bill Baar 12:41 PM  

i guess freedom of speech is dead. this petition tells me so.

He's our senator. He speaks for us... not freely... we don't like what we hear... we can censure... and vote.

Anonymous,  12:42 PM  

I think Senator Durbin WOULD speak out against the Chicago Police torture question, if the Chicago City Council or the Mayor came out defending the practice as a necessary tool in the war against crime. The truth is the only one's promoting torture as a legitmate tool of the state is the President, his advisors and a few knuckleheads in Congress. If you want to censure somebody, censure them. Not someone who is exercising his Constitutional right to free speech.

The Barr Maneuver,  12:51 PM  

Baar, do you think Senator Inhofe should be censored also? Won't you do something to comdemn his harsh rhetoric, or do you think that it is ok for a US Senator to compare the fine Americans at NASA and the the journal Nature to those who perpatrared the greatest crime in History, and whose lives hundreds of thousands of Amercians died to defeat?

Do you agree with him in his comparison of Al Gore to Himmler? Bill, why do you stand idly by while Senator Inhofe compares those who drive hybrid cars to the SS?

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is the nation’s most prominent global warming denier. He famously declared that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” Now, he’s taken the argument a step further. In an interview with Tulsa World, Inhofe compared people who believed global warming was a problem to Nazis:

In an interview, he heaped criticism on what he saw as the strategy used by those on the other side of the debate and offered a historical comparison.

“It kind of reminds . . . I could use the Third Reich, the big lie,” Inhofe said.


bored now,  1:03 PM  

oh, come on, bill. political speech is *exactly* what the constitution protects...

Bill Baar 1:09 PM  

of course bored,

but isn't free speech about petitions too?

we elected a Rep, they talk foolishly, seditiously, we'll we're free to call for censure...

Fiengold wants to censure Bush... signers here want to censure Durbin.

It's a Free Country as we used to say.

Durbin rubs me the wrong way like almost no other politican.

Bill Baar 1:28 PM  

The part that really upsets me about the torture comparisons was read the Taguba report. Read the citations to the Military guys who reported abuse.

The Army's system worked as it should. People saw wrong things happening and reported it. The institution supported them.

It doesn't work that way in Chicago becuase people can't report abuse. A patronage system doesn't work that way. People bury it instead and the abuse just festers in there.

Durbin can speak out about the Army but he can't speak out about the system that will turn out votes for him.

Jason 1:37 PM  

At least it's Durbin rubbing you the wrong way and not Tom Adams.

Anonymous,  1:54 PM  

If you don't approve of Sen. Durbin you have every right to express that opinon. It's called an election. The act of censure is strictly the perogative of the Senate body, and it's only used to reprimand a Senator for misconduct or malfeasance. The last I heard, expressing an opinion does not fall under either of those criteria. So quit grandstanding with meaningless petitions. If you don't like what Senator Durbin says or does, elect someone else.

By the way, I haven't heard the President comment on the Chicago torture scandal. Or any of Illinois' Republican delegation. Or John McCain. Why are they so silent? Maybe we should add a few more names to that petition, huh?

Bill Baar 1:59 PM  

By the way, I haven't heard the President comment on the Chicago torture scandal. Or any of Illinois' Republican delegation. Or John McCain. Why are they so silent? Maybe we should add a few more names to that petition, huh?

Topinka should for sure. I don't think she's listening to me though.

bored now,  2:13 PM  

bill, i really shouldn't have to point out to you that feingold wants to censure bush because he's incompetent -- iow, for things he actually did, not something he said. there's no interference with the first amendment at all. otoh, you and your buddies want to trash the first amendment because you don't like something (political) that durbin said. and i will defend your right to despise the constitution -- i just won't help you undermine it...

Anonymous,  2:35 PM  

This is what happens when you blog for the sake of blogging Bill...you cannot even defend what you're saying.

Try giving your posts some thought before just throwing something up here.

Bill Baar 2:44 PM  

I think Durbin said awful things as a representative of me.

I'm hard pressed to see how signing a petition asking his fellow senators to censure the awful things Durbin said representing me as anyway threatening his first amendment rights.

If he wasn't my senator, if he didn't represent me, it would be nonsense for me to petition for his censure.

But I'm stuck with him (and he stuck with me).

It's not all that complicated or require much thought. It's how the system works.

bored now,  2:55 PM  

t's not all that complicated or require much thought. It's how the system works.

i have long believed that there were lots of americans who wouldn't support the constitution if they understood what it meant. you are trying to take away durbin's freedom of speech. like you said, it's not that complicated. the constitution specifically protects durbin's words, especially in the location he made them. if you disagree, your remedy is your vote, not to undermine the constitution. you don't want to play by the rules, that's all...

Bill Baar 2:55 PM  

Here's the censure definition,

It is a formal statement of disapproval, however, that can have a powerful psychological effect on a member and his/her relationships in the Senate.

And a list of censured senators.

A formal statement of disapproval. That's what Durbin should have.

Skeeter 3:17 PM  


Please advise as to what "awful things" he said.

Spell it out, Bill. Exactly what did he say that you find so offensive.

Show that you've read (or heard) the complete statement and not just some cheap talk radio version.

Bill Baar 3:21 PM  


Just click the link on the petition to hear Durbin.

I think it awfull. I think he deserves a formatl disapprovel from his peers.

I told them so when I signed the petition.

People who agree should sign too.

People who don't, well, they shouldn't.

It doesn't seem unconstitional or a deprivation of anyones rights to do so... despite the mumbo jumbo above...

Othewise we'd all have to agree or shut up for the duration for whomever gets elected.

That hardly seems American.

Anonymous,  3:22 PM  

dump durbin to extreme

Skeeter 3:40 PM  


Your answer is not responsive.

Please identify the specific words you find offensive.

Bill Baar 3:42 PM  

Durbin's whole rant Skeeter... the whote thing....

Skeeter 3:47 PM  

That is not responsive, Bill and you know it.

Prove you've heard the whole thing.

Let's step back a minute though:
Do you believe the following represents sound American policy for treating prisoners:

"The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor."

bored now,  3:54 PM  

the link bill provides shows that this has only been used 8 times, and only ONCE for speech (disclosing confidential documents -- which durbin did not do):

United States Senate Censure Cases:
1. Timothy Pickering (F-MA), January 2, 1811
Charge: Reading confidential documents in open Senate session before an injunction of secrecy was removed.
Result: Censured. Failed reelection (elected to the House in 1812).
2. Benjamin Tappan (D-OH), May 10, 1844
Charge: Releasing to the New York Evening Post a copy of President John Tyler's message to the Senate of April 22, 1844 regarding the treaty of annexation between the United States and the Republic of Texas.
Result: Censured. Did not run for reelection.
3. Benjamin R. Tillman (D-SC) and John L. McLaurin (D-SC), February 28, 1902
Charge: Fighting in the Senate chamber on February 22, 1902.
Result: Each was censured and suspended, retroactively, for six days. This incident led to the adoption of Rule XIX governing the conduct of debate in the chamber. Tillman -- reelected; McLaurin -- did not run for reelection.
4. Hiram Bingham (R-CT), November 4, 1929
Charge: Employing as a Senate staff member Charles Eyanson, who was simultaneously employed by the Manufacturers Association of Connecticut. Eyanson was hired to assist Bingham on tariff legislation. The issue broadened into the question of the government employing dollar-a-year-men.
Result: "Condemned" for conduct tending "to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute." Defeated for reelection.
5. Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI), December 2, 1954
Charge: Abuse and non-cooperation with the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections during a 1952 investigation of his conduct; for abuse of the Select Committee to Study Censure.
Result: He was "condemned." Died in office.
6. Thomas J. Dodd (D-CT), June 23, 1967
Charge: Use of his office (1961-1965) to convert campaign funds to his personal benefit. Conduct unbecoming a senator.
Result: Censured. Defeated for reelection.
7. Herman E. Talmadge (D-GA), October 11, 1979
Charge: Improper financial conduct (1973-1978), accepting reimbursements of $43,435.83 for official expenses not incurred, and improper reporting of campaign receipts and expenditures.
Result: His conduct was "denounced" as reprehensible and tending to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute. Defeated for reelection.
8. David F. Durenberger (R-MN), July 25, 1990
Charge: Unethical conduct "in connection with his arrangement with Piranha Press, his failure to report receipt of travel expenses in connection with his Piranha Press and Boston area appearances, his structuring of real estate transactions and receipt of Senate reimbursements in connection with his stays in his Minneapolis condominium, his pattern of prohibited communications respecting the condominium, his repeated acceptance of prohibited gifts of limousine service for personal purposes, and the conversion of a campaign contribution to his personal use."
Result: "Denounced" for reprehensible conduct, bringing the Senate into dishonor and disrepute. Did not run for reelection.

most americans object to efforts to deny citizens their first amendment rights...

Skeeter 3:54 PM  

Let me add another one:

How about chaining a prisoner hand and foot in a room for 19 - 24 hours, with the prisoner urinating and defecating on himself.

Are you proud of Americans who would do something like that? Or does that cross a boundary?

And you want to condemn Senator Durbin for condemning those actions.

You are one fine American, Bill. Tell us more about your patriotism. Tell me about American values.

You and I have sure have different views on that subject.

I believe that America should be a shining city on a hill, that all other countries can look to for moral leadership.

You, on the other hand, think we should be found on the low road. That we should sink to the level of our enemies.

Tell me more about morality, Bill. You view stem cell research as immoral, but have no problems with torture.

With views like that, a censure from you would be high praise.

Anonymous,  3:55 PM  

If it stops another attack on our nation, I don't care who pisses on themself.

Anonymous,  4:09 PM  

On July 23rd 2006, I as the executive director of the Republican Assembly of Illinois started a campaign to Censure Senator Richard Durbin for Sedition. I think it’s important to explain our reasoning and why this effort was undertaken.

About two months ago while watching the news, I saw an interview with Senator Durbin asking if he agreed with Senator Finegold’s effort to Censure President Bush for listening to terrorist’s calls into America. Both Senators accused the President of breaking the law, saying what Bush had done was much worse than what Clinton had done. Even bringing up the fact that the NSA was listening to incoming calls was risking national security. They said it was already out in the papers and it was no longer a secret, and anyway it was illegal. I was stunned with the contempt both Senators had for the war effort and for the truth. Charging that tapping phone calls from outside the country from known terrorists to people inside our country was a crime; even though every White House consul and National Security Advisor since Kennedy agreed that the President had that power showed truth didn’t matter. Truth didn’t matter in the rest of their arguments against the war. Saying the president lied to get us into the war in Iraq. Saying we are at war to enrich the presidents friends and family, saying that we were only at war for the oil companies. Those charges were not just political disagreements they were criminal accusations! I wondered how far would they go? Where will it stop?

Since President Bush’s poll numbers hit 90 % after Afghanistan, Durbin and the Democratic Party have gone on an unprecedented campaign to make this war impossible to win. From the trumpeting of the death toll in Iraq, every time it hit a good round number. To charging our service men and women as keepers of torture chambers, Senator Durbin and his fellow Democrats have kept up a steady drum beat of negativity. Of course its allies in the Mainstream media (MSM) have been there to print each and every charge as truth, no matter what the history, no matter what the truth.

It was President Bush who was a fault for 9/11! It didn’t matter that he was in office for seven months and the same group had attacked those same towers 7 years before! It didn’t matter that none of the information learned in that investigation was shared with the national security agencies. Why? Because the attack was treated as a crime instead of what it was, an attack on the United States an act of war! It was the Clinton administration that had compiled the intelligence Bush used to decide what to do with Iraq! Most of the 16 United Nations resolutions that were never lived up too were put in place during the Clinton administration. Saddam kicked out the inspectors under Clinton. Yet according to Durbin and the Democrats Bush lied, and they had to get the American people to agree.

Senator Durbin was given the number two spot in the Senate because, his seat seemed secure and he was the only one who would take the chance of attacking the President during wartime. At first it was Senator Durbin by himself with the help of the MSM, but when his colleagues saw the GOP leadership would do nothing to quell the seditious talk it grew louder and louder. Like spoiled children the Democrats are going to the edge to see what they can get away with. When they go too far as Durbin seemingly did last summer with his now famous comparison of our Military with “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime Pol Pot or others.” They pull back give fake apologies and the MSM gives them cover.

After the blatant attack by Durbin the country was outraged. Durbin’s own friends said he went beyond the pale. As Newt Gingrich pointed out in his letter to Senators last summer demanding Durbin be censured
“This moral equivalence isn’t just utterly false; it endangers the lives of our young men and women in the military because it arms every radical Islamist with the official-record words of a Senate leader to justify their war of terror against civilized people everywhere….A Senate censure of Senator Durbin is justified and would reaffirm a standard for healthy, rational debate.” The GOP leadership did nothing! Senator McCain absolved Durbin even though he is not an elected leader of the Senate Republicans and the leadership let it go at that.

There is a price to pay for not Censuring Senator Durbin. Censure is a process put into place by the Congress to enforce limits to partisan rhetoric. In a body that is meant to be a debating society, limits have to be enforced without suffocating opposition, but keeping that debate within limits. You can look back over the last year and see how the rhetoric has gone beyond just opposition; it is now fanning the flames of hate! Our enemies are using the open partisanship to extend the war. But the real problem is not just Iraq it is now spreading to the rest of the Middle East. It is spreading to North Korea and Iran. Our hero’s in the military deserve someone here at home to speak up for them. It is not fair that Senator Durbin use their sacrifices to attack their Commander in Chief; and undermine their hard work by strengthening their enemies. The “insurgents” as the MSM calls them (terrorists is what the solider in the field call them) are not fighting to win the battles they are fighting to win the propaganda war.

That’s why I have undertaken this project. It is time we reset the guidelines that have been wiped away. We can disagree without giving aid and comfort to our enemies. I believe I can make this charge because of the partisanship Senator Durbin has shown over the last decade. In 1990 Senator Durbin voted against the Gulf war. In 2003 he voted against the current war in Iraq but in 1998 when a Democrat was in the Whitehouse he not only voted for military action he said and I quote “I call on those who question the motives of the President and his national security advisors to join with the rest of America in presenting a united front to our enemies abroad” I would ask the Senator why then and not now? It is something I hope the leaders of the Senate ask the Senator when his Censure for Sedition is voted on from the floor of the Senate. It is something that will help set parameters for future generations.

If you agree please go to WWW.Censuredurbin.com and sign the petition

Skeeter 4:22 PM  

Mr. Executive Director, in response:

First, you cite no facts. You are truly one fine Republican. Facts don't matter when you can question somebody's patriotism.

Second, with regard to the issue at hand -- Senator Durbin -- you have taken one statement and have taken it completely out of context.

Do you believe that torture is wrong? Yes or no?

Do you believe that it is proper to chain a prisoner hand and foot for 19 - 24 hours until that prisoner urinates and defecates on himself?

Would you approve of that conduct and call it reasonable if done by our enemies, or would you condemn it as a violation of law and morality and seek retribution for the abuse?

Do you believe that the President of the United States is obligated to follow the law? Yes or no?

You mention your leadership role in the Illinois Republican Party -- The party of Ryan and Keyes. Nice work. With people like you, the Illinois Republican Party is the weakest Republican Party in America. Keep up the good work.

bored now,  4:26 PM  

i think that we've established that mr. executive director wants to trash the constitution and the bill of rights. freedom of speech? if they can't outlaw it, they will intimidate anyone who might dare to exercise it...

Bill Baar 4:31 PM  

Is Durbin intimatied by this bored now?

What's he scared of?

bored now,  4:42 PM  

i have no idea. it clearly is a frontal attack on our first amendment rights...

Bill Baar 4:47 PM  

i see him at ohare sometimes...everyone ignores him...

...next time I'll ask him if he has the jitters over this.

Skeeter 4:49 PM  


Why do you believe that Sen. Durbin is intimidated? This is becoming a pattern for you -- a lot of strong charges without any proof.

Out of curiosity, do you intend to address the merits of the posts, or are you going to be a good little Republican and keep your head firmly in the sand?

bored now,  4:59 PM  

i believe he's referring to *my* argument that censure is an attempt to intimidate political speech.

Skeeter 5:03 PM  

No, I believe that Baar has now lost his mind. There can be no other explanation.

He opposes stem cell research on moral grounds, but believes it is morally acceptable to chain a naked prisoner hand and foot for 24 hours, or to torture a prisoner to such a degree that the prisoner pulls his own hair out.

The contradiction in morality is so clear that there can be almost no explanation other than that Baar has lost his mind completely.

In the alternative, he may be pulling a Coulter -- knowingly making false and outrageous statements to build up site traffic.

Anonymous,  5:04 PM  


I wish that they would have just chained them to the floor instead they used drills on ther eyes cut off their heads and left them in the street wired to blow up if touched. That my friends is torture!
How many Hostages or prisoners of war have been returned so far by Al-quida or the "resistance"? 0

Sen. Dick Durbin's comment that the discovery of the 2 mutilated soldiers' bodies is a
"grim reminder of the price we're paying for a failed policy in Iraq"? Only 1 sentance and not from the floor of the Senate? Did you see him on TV? No because he didn't say it on TV. If he cared about torture he should have been screaming when it happens not just accuse.ntrf

Skeeter 5:14 PM  

Anon 5:04,

Does torture by our enemies make it morally acceptable for Americans to use torture?

Does your morality vary, depending on the morality of your opponent?

Rich Miller 6:16 PM  

Um, is there anything new here?

Bill Baar 6:38 PM  

I don't know...I've lost my mind.

Skeeter 8:33 PM  


That is the only conclusion I can reach.

I call them as I see them.

Actually, the "new" is that the Illinois GOP is officially questioning the patriotism of anyone who might question the war in Iraq. To me, that is a real story.

I honestly did not think that people like that existed. I thought FoxNews created them for ratings.

Bill Baar 9:21 PM  


I don't think the Republican Assembly of Illinois and Illinois GOP are one in the same...

...maybe I'm wrong.

Anonymous,  7:16 AM  


You are correct

Skeeter 8:53 AM  

O.K., so the news is "Some strange splinter group of right wing extremists who thinks that criticism of the war is the same as treason wants to get signatures for a mailing list."

I'm with Rich on this one now. No real news there.

Bill Baar 9:20 AM  

no news maybe,

but it got you rocking-and-rolling Skeeter...

Lets see how many sigs the collect...

Then we'll make some news, or put another way...

The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it. (Karl Marx, 1818 - 1883)

Anonymous,  12:52 AM  



Resolved, That the Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, participated in acts of sedition. In that the Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, holding a leadership role in the United States Senate, did support the enemies of our Nation in a time of War, and did Read Confidential documents in open Senate session on numerous occasions, and that this conduct of the Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, is contrary to senatorial traditions and is hereby condemned.
Sec 2. The Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, in addressing the Senate in his Official capacity as the Minority Whip of the Senate, on June 15, 2005, compared the United States Military at Guantanamo Bay to those of Nazis, Soviet Gulags, or a "mad regime" like Pol Pot's acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute, to impair its dignity; and such conduct is hereby condemned.

Sec 3. The Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, has revealed sensitive details about Confidential National Security Operations to members of the press, thereby passing this confidential information to the Nations enemies in a time of war. The Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, did divulge top secret details about a new generation of spy satellites to the Washington Post resulting in a story published December 11, 2004. This story compromised United States Military strategy and cost United States Tax Payers hundreds of millions of dollars, acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute, to impair its dignity; and such conduct is hereby condemned

Anonymous,  12:13 PM  


July 29, 2006
Leak of Classified Information Prompts Inquiry
WASHINGTON, July 28 — A federal grand jury has begun investigating the leak of classified information about intelligence programs to the press and has subpoenaed a former National Security Agency employee who claims to have witnessed illegal activity while working at the agency....

The subpoena, which Mr. Tice made public on Friday, says the investigation covers “possible violation of federal criminal laws involving the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.” It specifically mentions the Espionage Act.

For months, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into disclosures of secret intelligence operations, including The New York Times’s reports in December about the N.S.A.’s domestic surveillance program and The Washington Post’s articles on the Central Intelligence Agency’s overseas jails for terror suspects. But the subpoena is the first public confirmation that a grand jury has begun to hear evidence.

Leaks about secret counterterrorist programs, and the decision of The Times and other news media outlets to publish information on them, have been roundly denounced by President Bush and other administration officials.

The American Civil Liberties Union denounced the subpoena as part of an effort to cover up government wrongdoing.

A Justice Department official, who would discuss the confidential criminal investigation only on condition of anonymity, said that the leak inquiry was in a preliminary investigative phase and that no journalist had been subpoenaed. The official said federal agents had interviewed officials at several intelligence agencies about their contacts with reporters at The Times and other news organizations.

He said he had described what he believed to be illegal security agency activities to Congressional staff members who had the necessary security clearances to receive the information. He declined to describe the activities, but he said he believed that they violated the Constitution and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs intelligence eavesdropping inside the United States.

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