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PRESS
August 06, 2007

CREW Files DoJ Complaint Against Min. Leader Boehner for Alledged Illegal Leak of Classified Info

Minority Leader John BoehnerWashington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Department of Justice asking that the Counterespionage Section of the National Security Division initiate an investigation into whether House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH) violated the law by leaking classified information.

In a July 31, 2007 interview with Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto, Rep. Boehner disclosed an aspect of a Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court’s decision regarding warrantless wiretapping, stating:

There's been a ruling, over the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States.

By telling a reporter that a FISA court has restricted the U.S. intelligence community's surveillance of suspected terrorists overseas, Rep. Boehner appears to have transmitted information relating to the national defense in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(d).

18 U.S.C. § 793(d) provides that anyone with lawful possession of information relating to the national defense, which could be used to the injury of the United States, who willfully communicates that information to any person not entitled to receive it, is subject to up to ten years imprisonment.

Rep. Boehner apparently made his remarks to Mr. Cavuto in an effort to blame Democrats for failing to pass legislation overriding the court's decision, stating: "The Democrats have known about this for months. We have had private conversations, we have had public conversations that this needs to be fixed. And Republicans are not going to leave this week until this problem is addressed."

Notably, Minority Leader Boehner has previously expressed strong concerns over illegal leaks for political gain. In discussing a long-running court case regarding an illegally intercepted phone call that Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) released to the media, Rep. Boehner stated: "When you break the law in pursuit of a political opponent, you’ve gone too far. Members of Congress have a responsibility not only to obey the laws of the country and the rules of our institution, but also to defend the integrity of those laws and rules when they are violated."

Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today, "By revealing classified information, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives appears to have compromised national security for partisan political gain. We urge the Justice Department to immediately commence an investigation."

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Derrick Crowe at 202.408.5565 or dcrowe@citizensforethics.org.

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