Fed Employees Ordered To Take Anti-Leaking Courses

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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President Donald Trump’s administration is actively trying to prevent federal employees from leaking classified or sensitive information to the press.

The administration has ordered federal employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to attend classes that aim to reinforce the rules and regulations against leaking classified government intelligence, The Associated Press reports. Class attendees are also taught how to ensure that “Controlled Unclassified Information” is not disseminated publicly.

EPA employees received a sheet this week that described the sometimes dire consequences that leaking classified information can have to U.S. national security through leaks to reporters, computer hacks or attacks from foreign nations.

“Enemies of the United States are relentless in their pursuit of information which they can exploit to harm US interests,” read the sheet obtained by AP.

The course used the 2015 hacking of the Office of Personnel Management as an example of what can happen when sensitive information is obtained by the wrong hands. Hackers obtained the personal information, including social security numbers, home addresses and other valuable information, of roughly 18 million people in 2015.

Trump’s administration has suffered a marked uptick in leak investigations than is typically normal of a president.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in August that the Department of Justice was pursuing roughly three times the amount of leak investigations than the agency did at the end of former President Barack Obama’s last term in office.

The administration has considered a number of measures to cut down on leaks, like reviewing policies that allow journalists to protect their sources.

Trump called into question Sessions’ handling of the leak investigations in a July interview with The Wall Street Journal.

“I’m very disappointed in the fact that the Justice Department has not gone after the leakers. And they’re the ones that have the great power to go after the leakers, you understand,” Trump told TheWSJ. “I’m very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.”

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