Attorney General

DOJ Investigates Ex-CIA General Counsel Rizzo for Drone Disclosures in Newsweek


The U.S. Justice Department is investigating former CIA acting general counsel John Rizzo because of disclosures he made about the agency’s drone program to Newsweek magazine.

Rizzo, who retired from the CIA in 2009, gave an on-the-record interview to Newsweek for a February story about how the CIA picks human targets for drone strikes, the National Journal reports. “It’s basically a hit list,” he told Newsweek. The Daily Beast confirmed the report of the probe.

The CIA general counsel’s office concluded that Rizzo may have violated the law by disclosing classified information and forwarded a so-called crime report to the Justice Department, the stories say. A retired senior CIA officer told the Daily Beast that such reports are fairly routine and “most of them come to nothing.”

Rizzo could go to jail if he is tried and convicted, but sources told the National Journal they expected a formal reprimand rather than a criminal trial.

Both stories note that former CIA director Leon Panetta, now the secretary of defense, has also publicly referred to the drone program.

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