Michael Vickers, a senior Defense official rumored to be a possible replacement for David Petraeus at the CIA, has been referred to the Justice Department after Pentagon investigators concluded that he leaked restricted information about the Osama bin Laden raid to Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers, two senior US officials tell the Miami Herald. Vickers, the Pentagon's undersecretary for Intelligence, gave filmmakers the name of a member of SEAL Team Six who helped plan the raid—though not, ABC News reports, one of the SEALs who actually conducted the raid. But so far, the Justice Department has declined to prosecute.
Vickers is Leon Panetta's top intelligence adviser, and it's not clear whether the matter will hurt his shot at the CIA directorship. One senior defense official says it's simply "a routine practice" to refer issues like this to the Justice Department, and adds that Pentagon officials doubt the case "will amount to anything," particularly since a 2011 conversation in which Vickers talked to the filmmakers about the SEAL, mentioning him by name, was deemed unclassified by the Pentagon. The Pentagon says its investigation into possible leaks related to the film is still ongoing. It was launched at Rep. Peter King's request, but his office hadn't been notified of any findings by this week. King says that "raises the question" of whether the delay was for political reasons. The Herald suggests it may have been an effort not to hurt the president's re-election chances, while ABC suggests it was to avoid embarrassing Panetta before he retires. (Read more Michael Vickers stories.)