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Sunday, 25 August, 2002, 02:30 GMT 03:30 UK
FBI targets senators in leak probe
FBI agents
The FBI has reportedly questioned scores of people
The FBI is asking 17 members of the United States Senate to hand over personal records as part of its probe into leaks from hearings on the 11 September attacks.

They are being asked to turn over phone records and schedules which could indicate contact with journalists.


We are fully co-operating with the FBI's review

Bob Graham,
head of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
An investigation was launched at the Senate's request after information was leaked from the hearings in June.

On the basis of the leaks, the American media revealed that two highly sensitive messages intercepted by the top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) on the eve of the attacks were not translated until 12 September.

Senator Bob Graham, the Democrat who heads the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, confirmed that the 17 members of the committee had been informed of the FBI request for records and would all comply.

In its request, issued on 7 August, the FBI asks for records relating to 18 and 19 June, when the leaks appeared.

The Arabic-language messages intercepted by the NSA said "The match is about to begin" and "Tomorrow is zero hour".

Scores questioned

Mr Graham himself asked the Justice Department - part of which is the FBI - to investigate the leaks at the time.

"We felt the most appropriate way to deal with it was to have an agency like the Department of Justice, which could look at all the potential sources of that week," Mr Graham said on ABC television

"Therefore we are fully co-operating with the FBI's review."

The Washington Post newspaper reports that the FBI is confining its request for records to members of the Senate though House of Representatives intelligence committee members had also attended the hearings.

FBI agents are believed to have questioned nearly 100 people in recent weeks, including all 37 members of the two intelligence committees and some 60 staff members.

It is illegal in the US to release classified information.


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24 Aug 02 | Americas
01 May 02 | Americas
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