Why Isn't the Justice Department Interested In Finding Who Leaked Classified Information?
Why Isn’t The Justice Department Interested In Finding Who Leaked Classified Information?
I’ve posted on the decision by the House Intelligence Committee (here | here) to begin an investigation into who leaked classified information, particular the information that Mike Flynn had spoken to the Russian ambassador, to the press. Because unlike the hokum about the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, the divulging of Flynn’s name was an actual federal felony.
This past week, FBI Director James Comey and his staff briefed members of Congress on the status of the various Russia/Trump related investigations and the FBI expressed frustration with the lack of a sense of urgency in Justice:
FBI officials told congressional leaders that, as of the middle of this week, the Bureau had not yet gotten the Justice Department’s approval to proceed with a full scale criminal probe, which could require resources like a grand jury and subpoenas, sources told Circa. … The sources familiar with the briefings, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said FBI officials have assembled a list of government employees who had access to classified information that was leaked, such as the intercepted communications in December between former National Security adviser Mike Flynn and Russia’s ambassador.
But the effort to fully identify the leakers or bring them to justice can’t begin until DOJ approval is secured, the sources said.
The delays apparently involve a shortage of high-level political appointees. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation because he had contacts with the Russian ambassador during his days in Congress, and Obama administration holdovers have not stepped in to make a decision as of the middle of this week, the sources said.
In fairness, Sessions is nearly at “home alone” status in Justice. Having said that, the acting deputy attorney general has the authority and ability to make this stuff happen if it was a priority for him. The nominee for deputy attorney general is already on the payroll as US Attorney for Maryland, so it is hard to see why the acting AG, Dana Boente, couldn’t consult with his designated replacement and get things rolling.