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\'What does the law say -- is there a violation?\'

5/28/75 - Mtg. - Buchen, A.G. Levi, Cheney

Issues:

view the pdf

Confirm Sec Def's statement concerning Levi's view of NYT's article on US subs operating in Soviet waters.

A.G.'s position - any problem given family connection?

What does the law say - is there a violation?

Alternatives -

  1. FBI investigation of NYT, Hersh, +/or possible gov't. sources.
  2. Grand Jury - seek immediate indictments of NYT + Hersh
  3. Search Warrant - to go after Hersh paper's in his apt. -
  4. Discuss informally w/NYT -
  5. Do nothing

Timing - how does all this relate to Pres. schedule - when will we tip our hand to targets of investigation - when will our actions become public knowledge

Questions:

How strong is case given current information? Are there potential weak points?

  1. constitutionality of the law
  2. legitimacy of the classification
  3. degree of violation
  4. what would we have to prove to make the case stick.
  5. Do we need any additional information.

Political Considerations

How do we avoid the "Pentagon papers syndrome?"

What will the public reaction be?

What will the Hill reaction be?

Will we get hit with violating the 1st amendment to the constitution?

How do we counter expected criticism

Does it present any opportunities -

Options

  1. Do nothing - ignore the Hersh story and hope it doesn't happen again.
  2. Go quietly to the NYT - tell them we could prosecute, but would prefer a simple commitment from them that they would cease + desist.
  3. Start FBI investigation - with or w/o public announcement. As targets include NYT, Sy Hersh, potential gov't sources, Marchetti, et. al.
  4. Seek search warrant to go after Hersh and remaining materials.
  5. Seek criminal indictments of one or more parties based on information now in hand.
  6. Seek contempt citation against ex-CIA employees for violating court orders on release of classified info.

Channels for handling - Counsel's ofc. will be the big plug in pt. for W.H. - for the Justice Dep't, NSC for the DOD, NSA, CIA, etc.

Crime message - recodification of criminal statues - should this issue be addressed?

Broader ramifications - can we take advantage of it to bolster our position on the Church committee investigation? To point out the need for limits on the scope of the investigation?

Should we take special steps to posture ourselves politically publicly?

Did anyone on the Hill have access to this information?

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posted feb. 13, 2007; updated feb. 20, 2007

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