New information from the Department of Justice (DOJ) reveals that leaks of classified information have gotten out of hand in the past year.
A new report on Wednesday reveals that “Agencies across the federal government reported at least 37 leaks of classified information in 2016, more than double the number of criminal leaks reported in 2015.”
The Washington Free Beacon has described the recent unauthorized disclosure of highly classified information as “a targeted campaign against Trump administration officials by Obama administration loyalists still operating inside the government. Sources in and out of the White House said this campaign began in late 2016 before Obama left office.”
The Free Beacon pointed out that classified information leaks are nothing new. A Freedom of Information Act request by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) revealed that according to Justice Department records from 2015, executive branch agencies reported at least 37 cases in which classified information was leaked in a criminal manner.
“We have conducted a search of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. A records search of that Section indicates that 37 crime reports concerning unauthorized disclosures of classified information were received by DOJ in CY 2016,” according to a memo issued by the Justice Department. “This may account for just a small percentage of total leaks due to information restrictions put in place by Congress. The number of leaks in 2016 doubled that of 2015. However, it is only slightly above the average number of classified leaks reported in the last five years.”
A review of current and past leaks has caused experts to surmise that the government is unable to adequately control the situation. “Evidently there is a baseline of leakiness that persists even in the face of strenuous official efforts to combat leaks,” wrote FAS in the DOJ memo after noting that leaks of sensitive information have routinely been taking place throughout federal agencies.
Earlier this week, we reported that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer attempted to control the incessant leaks in his office by holding an attorney-supervised search of every one of his staffer’s cell phones.
Leaked information has been targeting White House officials and even led to the resignation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn last month after transcripts of his private phone conversations were intercepted by the U.S. intelligence community and leaked to newspapers. He was never found of wrongdoing.
Most recently, senior White House adviser Sebastian Gorka has been targeted by leakers as part of the subversive campaign to undermine President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus.
On Tuesday, Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, emphasized to reporters (who are a party to the leaking by seeking and publishing such information) that leaking is indeed a serious crime. “What I’m concerned about is no one is focusing on major leaks that have occurred here,” he said. “We can’t run a government like this. A government can’t function with massive leaks at the highest level.”
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