Congress to Require Reports on Classified Leaks

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Following Edward Snowden’s massive leaks of classified documents, Congress wants the Department of Defense (DoD) to report on its responses to insider leaks and threats.

Included in the pending National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015 is a two-year requirement for the Secretary of Defense to report new policies created in response to significant leaks of classified information, the Federation of American Scientists’ Steven Aftergood reported Monday.

The provision will also require more reports on the Obama administration’s “Insider Threat Program,” which was created to ferret out leakers.

“Compromises of classified information cause indiscriminate and long-lasting damage to United States national security and often have a direct impact on the safety of warfighters,” the Act reads.

The Act makes apparent references to both Wikileaks and Snowden’s disclosures of classified documents.

“In 2010, hundreds of thousands of classified documents were illegally copied and disclosed across the Internet,” the Act reads. “In 2013, nearly 1,700,000 files were downloaded from United States Government information systems, threatening the national security of the United States and placing the lives of United States personnel at extreme risk.”

The Obama administration has aggressively cracked down on leaks, going so far as to target the journalists who work with them.

The director of national intelligence announced a new policy in April forbidding unapproved contact with reporters.

While the directive refers to intelligence matters, it made no distinction between classified or unclassified information. The memo forbids unauthorized “contact with the media about intelligence-related information, including intelligence sources, methods, activities, and judgments (hereafter, ‘covered matters’).”

The Justice Department previously subpoenaed the phone records and emails of journalists suspected of consorting with leakers.

The measures have led to loud protests from journalism organizations. In a report last year by the Committee to Protect Journalists, numerous national security reporters said the leak prosecutions and other measures have had a noticeable chilling effect on their work, and several compared the Obama administration to Nixon’s.