FBI Officially Has A Leak Investigation Unit

from the because-why-not dept

The Obama Administration was never a fan of leakers and whistleblowers. The Trump Administration isn't either. And it's continuing to ramp up investigations in response to a steady stream of leaks that tend to arrive moments after executive proclamations in order to undermine or contradict whatever has just been proclaimed.

Fired company man Jeff Sessions thought the best plan to tackle leaks was prosecuting the recipients: journalists. Not really the best plan of action in a country with enshrined speech rights, but that's the way things are being done in the nation's capital. True to form, the DOJ has gone after leakers with a vengeance, threatening to rewrite all of Obama's personal prosecution records.

The FBI is getting in on the action, according to a document obtained by Ken Klippenstein of The Young Turks. The word "espionage" is tossed around, but most of what the Trump Administration has dealt with has been embarrassing, rather than a concerted effort to hand secret documents over to our country's enemies. Nonetheless, hunting leakers is official FBI business.

"By law, the FBI is the lead federal agency responsible for the investigation of violations of the espionage laws of the United States,” one document, bearing the subheader “Functions and Mission Statement” reads.

“The complicated nature of — and rapid growth in — unauthorized disclosure and media leak threats and investigations has necessitated the establishment of a new Unit,” the document continues.

The file, dated November 10, 2017, is heavily redacted — as are the rest of the records provided to TYT. One document, dated May 24, 2018, shows that the Bureau’s Resource Analysis Unit approved a request by its Counterintelligence Division to establish a new cost code, apparently for the new leaks unit.

As Klippenstein notes, the obtained document [PDF] indicates Jeff Sessions was a man of words, rather than a man of action. The establishment of the unit -- meaning the point at which it started being funded -- didn't occur until May 2018. Sessions claimed in August 2017 the FBI already had a leak-fighting unit in place and that leak probes had already increased by 800%.

Sessions' leak-targeting premature ejaculation may have been meant to scare government employees into keeping the feds' secrets. If so, it wasn't too effective. The rate of leaks has slowed from "daily," but there's no shortage of insiders willing to spill dirt on the chaotic White House to journalists.

The government isn't opposed to leaks, per se. It just likes to ensure the narrative it wants to project makes its way to the public before the truth even gets its pants on. That hasn't worked for years, as the Obama Administration discovered prior to its war on leakers and whistleblowers. It's not going to work here either, but it does raise the odds the First Amendment is going to suffer for the sins our government fails to keep covered up.

Filed Under: doj, fbi, investigation, jeff sessions, leaks, retaliation, whistleblowers


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2019 @ 4:40am

    Great idea

    Find the new unit somewhere in "fraud, waste and abuse".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2019 @ 5:24am

    The government is full of leakers, so the set up to stop the leakers, rather than fixing the root cause of the leeks, corrupt government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2019 @ 7:47am

    Re:

    The government has always been corrupt. People these days just can't seem to keep their mouth shut about anything.

    Besides anything from the joke that is The Young Turks is just laughable. They are so left leaning and the lies that come out of their months non-stop is beyond laughable at this point.

    Just to watch and year them during the Election where Trump WON, it's a big Youtube laugh fest. Just watching that you can see how bias they are.

    Look right at the beginning, holding their Chart, there's HRC on the left and DRUMPF on the right. I mean really? You call yourself news? HAHAHAHA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpyKuzoFW40

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2019 @ 7:52am

    I would like to understand what it is about "leaks" that is so damaging to the nation ....

    oh, wait a sec - damaging to the administration - I get it now, yeah - that's the ticket.

    Well, I am not aware of any laws that limit the speech of anyone based solely upon whether it makes the present administration look bad. Are there any? What happens to a leaker once they are uncovered? Do they quickly declare some email content to be magically secret? It really stinks of bullshit and the second amendment be damned I guess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 10 Jan 2019 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    Have you seen the Wall tantrum?

    Protecting the president's fee-fees is a matter of "national security."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2019 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re:

    Yup - outrageous it is.

    In prior post I meant the 1st rather than the 2nd, but wth - the 2nd is the only one they care about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2019 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah bro not gonna click on your rando YouTube link. Also using the word bias is either a subtle bit of commentary on internet-speak or you’re a tool. I’ll let you guess what I think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2019 @ 2:11pm

    Unit may have been unofficially operational before funding

    The unit may not have been funded when Sessions talked about it, but that doesn't mean that there weren't already groups of agents acting with orders from above to spend their time hunting leakers. It just means they couldn't record that activity clearly in the internal resource tracking system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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