Report: Documents reveal FBI launched new unit to investigate media leaks

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The FBI established an investigative unit dedicated to countering government leaks to the media last year, according to partly declassified internal documents published Wednesday.

The heavily redacted file bundle was obtained by journalist Ken Klippenstein of The Young Turks under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and reveal the agency’s new role in combating “violations of the espionage laws of the United States.”

“The complicated nature of—and rapid growth in—unauthorized disclosure and media leak threats and investigations has necessitated the establishment of a new Unit,” reads a mission document dated Nov. 10, 2017.

Another document dated May 24, 2018, details the approval of a Counterintelligence Division request for the FBI’s Resource Analysis Unit to set up a new cost code, reportedly for the new unit.

The files appear to have been formerly marked as secret before being declassified as part of the FOIA request.

Interestingly, Klippenstein points out that the date conflicts with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ claim in August 2017 that such a unit was already in place. Sessions had undertaken a review of the Justice Department’s leak investigations that year.

Read the internal documents relating to the FBI Media Leak Unit here.

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H/T The Young Turks

David Gilmour

David Gilmour

David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.