The Four Leak Prosecutions Sessions’ DOJ Already Pursuing
Feds target overt press disclosures and mishandling of secret information as part of crackdown
Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not just make promises Friday when he addressed the leaking epidemic plaguing President Donald Trump’s administration — he highlighted concrete actions the Justice Department has already taken.
Sessions referenced four criminal prosecutions that are underway, although he offered no details. In response to questions from LifeZette, Justice Department officials offered an accounting of those cases. The best-known defendant — and the only one tied specifically to a media leak — probably is Reality Leigh Winner, a contractor who drew headlines in June when prosecutors accused her of leaking classified information to which she had access in her job.
While Winner’s case involves a leak to the media, the other three that Sessions referenced pertain to alleged mishandling of secret information. The other defendants are Candace Marie Claiborne, a State Department employee from Virginia; Kevin Patrick Mallory, a contractor from Virginia; and Harold Thomas Martin III, a contractor from Maryland.
"Progress has been made, and we intend to reach new levels of effectiveness," Sessions told reporters. "First, let me say that I strongly agree with the president and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country."
Here is a summary of each case:
Authorities allege that she used her top-secret clearance at Pluribus International Corp. on May 9 to print classified intelligence reportedly containing defense information and remove it from the facility. Several days later, The Intercept reported on it.
The FBI obtained a search warrant for Winner's home, and she confessed to agents that she had removed the document despite that fact that it was "need-to-know" intelligence.
The left-leaning online news site reported on the document, an analysis of the extent of Russia's efforts to penetrate computer systems storing state voter registration information.
The case remains pending in the federal court in Atlanta. On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps sided with prosecutors, ruling that it is up to the executive branch — and not judges — to determine what information is classified.
A State Department employee, Claiborne faces charges of obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements to the FBI. Authorities allege that she concealed numerous contacts with foreign intelligence officials over a number of years.
The criminal complaint accuses Claiborne of failing to report contacts with two Chinese intelligence agents who had given her and her family tens of thousands of dollars' worth of gifts and benefits. Those gifts included cash wired to her bank account, an Apple iPhone and laptop computer, Chinese New Year presents, meals, international travel, vacations, a fully furnished apartment, tuition at a Chinese fashion school, and a monthly stipend.
Claiborne received some of the gifts directly, while the agents provided others through an unnamed co-conspirator, according to the indictment.
The case remains pending in the the District of Columbia's federal court.
Prosecutors allege that he transmitted "top secret" and secret documents to an agent of China. According to the criminal complaint, Mallory traveled to Shanghai in March and April to meet with someone he believed was working for the Chinese intelligence agency.
Authorities also accused Mallory of misleading investigators.
Mallory, a self-employed consultant who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, has held numerous positions with various government agencies and several defense contractors.
Prosecutors allege Mallory told FBI agents that he blacked out security classification markings on documents that he handed over. An analysis of a communications device revealed a handwritten index describing eight different documents, three of which were classified as "top secret" and one that was labeled "secret."
Mallory faces charges of gathering or delivering defense information to aid a foreign government and making false material statements. If convicted, Mallory faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The case remains pending in the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to the indictment, he worked for at least seven different companies as a contractor assigned to various government agencies from December 1993 through August 2016. Authorities allege that from 1996 through August 27 of last year, he stole top-secret documents pertaining to national defense and kept them at his home and in his vehicle.
If convicted, Martin faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the 20 counts of willful retention of national defense information. His case remains pending in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.