The Obama administration has taken a first step toward opening a criminal investigation into the purported leaking of classified documents related to the federal government tracking Americans’ phone calls and emails, a source familiar with the high-level discussions told Fox News on Saturday.
The source said James Clapper, the director of U.S. national intelligence, had filed a “criminal report”with the Justice Department and the FBI, which begins the process.
“The Department reviews any referrals it receives from the intelligence community consistent with established procedures for determining whether investigation is warranted,” a DOJ source told Fox News late Saturday.
The FBI and Justice Department would likely be involved in such a probe, which is expected to focus on British and U.S. newspapers including The Guardian. The British newspaper reported late Wednesday that the U.S. government had collected the phone records of millions of Verizon customers.
White House spokesman Ben Rhodes said earlier on Saturday that the president is reviewing the situation to see what kind of damage might have been done.
“We’re still in early stages,” he said. However, Rhodes acknowledge the Justice Department would have to be involved and that the agency will discuss the matter with intelligence officials in the coming days.