The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into whether Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Jay Rockefeller and Ron Wyden leaked details about a secret "black ops" CIA satellite program last December in a move that may have seriously compromised national security, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin said on Saturday.
"The CIA made a request to the Justice Department to investigate and possibly bring criminal charges against these three [senators]," Babbin told WABC Radio host Monica Crowley. "My information is that investigation is ongoing."
"The formal request for a leaks investigation would target people who described sensitive details about a new generation of spy satellites to The Washington Post, which published a page-one story about the espionage program Saturday [Dec. 11, 2004]," a Justice Department official told The Associated Press at the time. But the same official told the AP that Justice "has not decided whether to investigate."
"The fact of the matter is that [Durbin, Rockefeller and Wyden] divulged something that was above and beyond top secret and frankly, they probably blew the strategy and the hundreds of millions of dollars that were being spent to pursue it," Babbin told Crowley. "The acknowledgement of [the "black ops" program's] existence is not even proper and the acknowledgement of them and the details of them can very well damage national security," Babbin added.
Asked if he thought the three Senate Democrats should have their security clearances revoked for the duration of the leak probe, the former Defense Department official said: "Absolutely and forthwith. I mean, they should have been revoked at the time of the leak." "There's really not much doubt about the leak having occurred," Babbin told Crowley. "It's in the press records, it's in the Congressional record. We know what they did." "The only question," he explained, "is how much damage was done by the leak. And that's part of the criminal investigation right now - to do a damage assessment, to figure out how much this is going to cost us strategically and militarily."