WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee in sworn testimony on Tuesday that the Department of Justice has 27 investigations of classified leaks currently underway.
“We have 27 investigations [of classified leaks] open today,” Sessions testified. “We intend to get to the bottom of these leaks. I think it has reached epidemic proportions. It cannot be allowed to continue and we will do our best to ensure it does not continue.”
A report released by the majority staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee documented that in President Trump’s first 126 days in office, from Jan. 20 to May 25, 2017, there were at least 125 news articles based on classified information published in prominent national news outlets.
If the Department of Justice is serious about stopping leaks, the case of William Walters prosecuted for insider trading by Preet Bharara, at that time U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, demands an investigation.
In December 2016, when the U.S. District Court Judge P. Kevin Castel was preparing to take the case to trial, he learned an FBI agent had leaked information on the case, including secret grand jury information, to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for multiple years, including two years before Walters was indicted.
As Infowars.com has reported, Judge Castel demanded that Bharara prepare for the federal court an unsealed memo that identified names and events without redaction, detailing completely the systematic patter of leaking to the two newspapers engaged undertaken by FBI Special Agent David Chaves.
That memo, available to be read here in its entirety, leaves no doubt that the Walters case proves the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice engage in systematic leaking to newspapers when investigating and prosecuting federal criminal cases, constituting proof of prosecutorial misconduct that should result in a presidential pardon for Walters, given that Judge Castel ordered Walters to begin his prison sentence while his appeal is yet pending.
“I Was Shocked”
In a hearing before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, held on Dec. 21, 2016, after the court demanded the unsealing of the name of the FBI Special Agent who leaked to the press, the Castel told U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that he was outraged at the government’s behavior in the case.
“Human nature being what it is, I could certainly understand if an agent found themselves in communication with a member of the press and somehow a conversation got out of hand and went beyond where it should have, and the agent, without any real thought ahead of time, misspoke,” Judge Castel said.
“That is not what happened here,” the judge continued. “This included dinner meetings and the like. I am a wiser person today for having been exposed to this. To say I was shocked would be an accurate statement.”
Judge Castel continued, suggesting FBI Special Agent Chaves could be prosecuted for a criminal offense.
“It seems to me that, as a formal matter, as a judge, I would refer this to the U.S. Attorney’s office to review for possible prosecution as criminal contempt or as obstruction of justice,” he stressed. “If you look at New York Times v. Gonzalez, 459 F. 3d 160, they explain how unwarranted disclosures could amount to obstruction of justice, 18 U.S.C., Section 1503(a). And reviewing the statute, it breaches actions to corruptly influence a proceeding. And ‘corruptly’ in context may mean nothing more than an improper purpose.”
Joan M. Loughnane, an attorney appearing with the U.S. Attorney, assured Judge Castel that the Office of the Inspector General had opened a criminal investigation into the leaking done by Special Agent Chavez.
“There was communication between the U.S. Attorney for this district and the assistant director in charge of the FBI about the outrage and frustration these leeks caused,” Longhnane explained to the court. “There were directives within the FBI for this to stop. The only thing I would say is that there were folks at the FBI as well who were outraged.”
But the judge accepted that Special Agent Chavez had acted alone, as a rogue agent, without approval from the FBI or the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“Based on what I see, I don’t see the U.S. Attorney’s Office as having been complicit in anything here,” Justice Castel concluded. “They may be fact witnesses to aspects of it, but I don’t see any involvement in this record, I’ll just say that.”
This conclusion strains credibility in that the publications by both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times at the end of May and the beginning of June 2014 contained details from “anonymous sources” that could only have come from within the investigation in a manner that should have been obvious to both the Bharara’s office and the FBI in New York. Yet, the investigation against Walters continued.
Attorneys for Walters argued Chavez had not only illegally leaked confidential information from an ongoing grand jury investigation, he made a deal with the Wall Street Journal reporter that he would give information to reporters in exchange for the reporters taking that information and going to their sources to see if they could produce additional information to help the investigation.
Moreover, Chavez used his personal email and cellphone to communicate with the reporters, and his purpose was to see if he could go outside the judicial system to resuscitate a dormant investigation.
On March 1, 2017, Judge Castel denied Walters’ motion to dismiss the case, ruling that Chaves’ leaks were not prejudicial to the defense, rejecting the argument that the FBI after May/June 2014 continued to leak information to the press that materially helped advance the grand jury’s insider trading investigation.
Attorneys for Walters have this decision made by Judge Castel under appeal.