President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, has issued a memo instructing all federal agencies to warn its employees of the consequences of leaking government information.
That memo, of course, was leaked Wednesday.
Buzzfeed News published a copy of the memo, dated Sept. 8, which calls for hourlong training sessions to be held next week by every federal department and agency regarding “unauthorized disclosures,” covering both classified information and “controlled unclassified” information, which is apparently information that’s for official use only.
“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information or controlled unclassified United States Government information causes harm to our Nation and shakes the confidence of the American people,” McMaster said in the memo.
The training is said to include videos of an August news conference by Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding leaks, and a Fox News interview with William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. They will also include discussions about espionage, leaks to the media and whistleblowing, as well as the penalties for unauthorized leaks.
In the August news conference, Sessions promised to hunt down and prosecute those who leak classified information, saying they “hurt our country.”
From the beginning, the Trump administration has been plagued by leaks to the media, and top officials, including Trump, have vowed to put an end to them.
It is unclear how the new crackdown will affect media coverage, especially regarding unclassified information, as White House and other government officials routinely leak information to reporters as unnamed sources. Trump himself has retweeted a number of favorable stories about his administration that were based on anonymous sources.