The DOJ is expected to hold a press conference announcing they are investigation what it calls an increasing amount of leaks containing classified information. They are unlikely to give any specifics but will probably explain the ever rising number of leaks as a reason why they plan on increasing the investigations and what charges are likely to come out of such leaks.
“We have seen an astonishing increase in the number of leaks of classified national security information in recent months,” department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said last week.
How the rate of leak investigations will translate into prosecutions under the Trump administration remains to be seen.
The Obama administration brought more leak cases — at least eight prosecutions — than all predecessors combined. But the number of notifications that DOJ received from intelligence agencies about unauthorized disclosures of classified information during that time was far higher.
In 2016 the Justice Department received 37 “crimes reports” concerning unauthorized disclosures of classified information, according to documents obtained by Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy specialist with the Federation of American Scientists.
From 2009 through 2016 the Justice Department received an average of 39 such reports — a high of 55 in 2013 and a low of 18 in 2015, according to the data he received through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“Not all leaks are criminal violations,” Mr. Aftergood said, noting that prosecutors typically only seek to bring charges in cases in which a person disclosed classified information. “To prosecute a disclosure of nonclassified information is not impossible, but it would require some legal acrobatics we have not seen in a while.”
Even in cases where classified information has been leaked, investigators can’t always identify the culprit. Leak investigations generally start by process of elimination, and the more people who had access to the leaked information, the trickier it is to pinpoint the source.
Federal prosecutors say they’ve been able to identify the source of at least one classified information leak this year. In June 25-year-old federal contractor Reality Winner was charged in connection with leaking a classified National Security Agency document to a news organization.
Other leaks are still being probed.