A: Over 100.
That’s according to an exchange flagged by Steven Aftergood, the invaluable government secrecy maven, in written responses by FBI director Robert Muller to questions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The responses, though they were submitted after a January 2007 hearing, were only released last month.
The excerpt, which begins with the committee’s question, comes from page 153 of a newly published committee report.
Since you became Director of the FBI in 2001, how many crime reports related to the unauthorized disclosure of classified information has the FBI investigated? How many such cases have been successfully prosecuted by the Department of Justice?
While various types of unauthorized disclosures of classified information are reported to the FBI through various vehicles, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Justice and Intelligence Community agencies requires that unauthorized disclosures of classified information to the media be reported by way of a “crime report.” Since September of 2001, the FBI has investigated and ultimately closed 85 investigations based upon criminal reports related to the unauthorized disclose of classified information, all of which concerned unauthorized disclosures of classified information to the media. None of these cases reached prosecution. Currently, 21 such cases are under investigation.
It’s interesting that Muller’s response focuses solely on leaks to the press, when that wasn’t the explicit focus of the committee’s question. (Though, it may be that only media leaks—as opposed to say, leaks to supposed foreign agents—are reported via “crime reports,” making that the implicit focus of the question.)
It’s also striking that even in the post-September 11, 2001 national security environment that not one of the closed cases resulted in a prosecution, though I’d be surprised if none of these investigations resulted in disciplinary action short of prosecution.Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.