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Senate panel alarmed by frequency of White House leaks

WASHINGTON – Unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information are occurring “at the rate of one a day” under the Trump administration, a Senate panel said Thursday, warning that such frequent leaks pose a serious threat to national security.

Since President Trump took office, leaks have flowed at an unprecedented rate “about seven times higher than the same period under the two previous administrations,” according to a report by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

Staffers on the committee found that since Inauguration Day, “at least 125 stories with leaked information potentially damaging to national security” have been published by various news outlets.

“Many disclosures have concerned the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election… but the leak frenzy has gone far beyond the Kremlin,” the report said, referring to instances in which Trump’s private conversations with foreign leaders have made it to print.

“Secret operations targeting America’s most deadly adversaries were exposed in detail,” according to the report. “All such revelations are potential violations of federal law, punishable by jail time.”

Of the leaks that have occurred since Trump took office on Jan. 20, nearly 80 have concerned Russia. Another leak that revealed details about the May 22 terrorist attack in Manchester “caused a diplomatic incident between the United States and a close ally,” the report stated.

In addition to the president, several top intelligence officers have been critical of the near-constant drip of sensitive information under this administration.

Former National CIA Director John Brennan told congressional investigators in May that the leaks have, in some cases, compromised intelligence capabilities and “absolutely” need to be investigated.

“They can, and do, have real world consequences for national security,” added the Senate panel on Thursday.

Johnson is expected to send a letter about the impact of the leaks on national security to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who confirmed last month that multiple investigations into government leaks are already underway.

The Senate report was first reported by Politico.


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