he New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Washington Times all carried news accounts today of the FBI seizure of Notra Trulock's computer hard drive. The FBI maintains it grabbed the drive in response to concerns from the CIA after a longer version of Trulock's eventual National Review article was sent to an agency publication this spring. Trulock's not buying it. He discussed the controversy with NRO.
NR: Tell us a little bit about the longer piece you wrote that was referred to in a few of the news articles this morning.
Trulock: The longer piece I put together at the suggestion of a number of people around town. I was upset by a lot of the disinformation and the downright lying that went on after I left the government about the investigation and my role in it, and as I was churning this around in my mind I hit on the idea of writing a "personal reflections"-type of manuscript. So I did that up and based it on my experience and documents that are publicly available now the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and so forth. I was very careful to put no classified information in it. I sent the manuscript around to maybe half a dozen people in town for their edification and just to share my thoughts with them.
NR: One of the people you showed this manuscript to forwarded it to a CIA publication called Studies on Intelligence?
Trulock: That's right. He forwarded it to something called the Center for the Study of Intelligence, which published a monograph series, and he thought that perhaps they would be interested in publishing this as a case study of an interaction between policy, intelligence, and law enforcement.
NR: Do remember roughly when that was?
Trulock: I think that was probably in April or May of this year. They declined to publish it and reminded me that I was to obtain a security review of the article. Well, frankly I didn't need a reminding because I had already taken that step by sending the document down to DOE, probably in March, for them to take a look at it.
NR: And what did DOE say?
Trulock: I thought DOE's reaction was peculiar. They essentially passed. My understanding, my obligation was that any sort of pre-publication review would be done by a special security officer responsible for intelligence at the Department of Energy. I had no intention of publishing this manuscript, but I sent it down there anyway for a review, and I got a strange answer back from them.
NR: And what did you send to National Review?
Trulock: I sent you the longer piece of the manuscript, recognizing that that was not going to be published by you in its entirety. What I was looking for from NR was some sense of what your readership would be interested in, and then I would shorten and modify it from there.
NR: And you showed it to the TRW people as well, right?
Trulock: Well, I sent it to the TRW people about the same time that I was circulating it to some of the other people in Washington, so this would have been in late March or so.
NR: And you also passed a polygraph test?
Trulock: Yeah, I took a polygraph, again, in late March, early April, and passed it with flying colors. The polygraph was intended to ferret out any disclosure of classified information, inadvertent or otherwise I had no problem with it at all.
NR: So all this action in the spring, and they've come and grabbed your hard drive now. What do you make of the chronology?
Trulock: I think that the coincidence of National Review's publication of the shorter article and the FBI's seizure of the hard drive on the computer is kind of striking. If you want to make the case that the longer article is the problem, it had been sitting around in maybe a half-dozen or so people's hard drive since the end of March. Now, three things happen in rapid succession: I get fired by TRW, National Review publishes this article you went to press Tuesday night, and I think you were advertising it on your website by Wednesday and Friday in comes the FBI. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.
NR: In the papers today the TRW officials deny that there was any sort of DOE pressure to fire you. What do you make of that?
Trulock: Who would expect them to say otherwise? I would hardly expect them to fess up that this had happened, but that's just part of the pattern that you see in this town now. Nobody accepts responsibility or accountability for anything.
NR: Do you know whether the FBI agents had a search warrant or not?
Trulock: I don't know. I haven't seen the search warrant. We were certainly threatened with it, but neither the homeowner nor I ever saw a search warrant.
NR: Have you heard anything else from the FBI?
Trulock: I had one conversation with the FBI last night. I had received word that the FBI was claiming that I was not cooperating with them and had refused to provide them a password. I called them immediately and said 'I have no idea what you're talking about. Nobody has tried to contact me, and furthermore, here's the password.' Hopefully that settled them down for a while. I don't know what they're up to.
NR: Have you been able to find a lawyer yet?
Trulock: I've got one interview today, and I just got a return phone call back from another one. I hope to have somebody on board by the close of business tomorrow.
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