Since Day One, President Donald Trump’s administration has been plagued with leaks from anti-Trump officials to members of the media, which prompted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce in August 2017 that he would lead a crackdown on administration leaks and any leakers caught would suffer the consequences for their actions.
That crackdown has led to a handful of arrests, and now one of those arrested for leaking — former FBI agent Terry Albury — just received a four-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to providing classified information to reporters.
According to the Washington Examiner, Albury was said to have provided classified documents — including a guide on recruiting informants and the rules for the seizure of journalist records — to left-leaning media outlet The Intercept. Those leaks reportedly occurred between Feb. 2016 and Aug. 2017.
A warning to would-be leakers
“We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history,” said Sessions in a statement on Thursday. “Crimes like the one committed by the defendant in this case will not be tolerated — they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and punished.”
“Today’s sentence should be a warning to every would-be leaker in the federal government that if they disclose classified information, they will pay a high price,” the attorney general added.
FBI Director Christopher Wray agreed, stating, “His sentencing today demonstrates those who violate the law by disclosing classified information will be held responsible for their reckless and illegal actions.”
Multiple arrests for leaking
Albury was the second leaker from the Trump administration to be sentenced to a term in prison for unauthorized disclosure of classified materials to the media, joining ex-National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, who received a sentence of five years in prison after she leaked classified documents pertaining to Russian government efforts to hack American election systems.
Albury and Winner likely won’t be the only leakers to serve time for their crimes, as at least five officials have been arrested for criminal leaking, the latest being Treasury Department staffer Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards. Edwards is accused of leaking classified bank records and suspicious activity reports to liberal media outlet Buzzfeed.
Another of those arrested for leaking was former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer and security director James Wolfe, who was alleged to have shared classified committee documents with reporters, though he was never officially charged with leaking. Wolfe pleaded guilty on Monday to lying to the FBI about his contact with reporters.
Not included in the number of those arrested for leaking — but certainly not out of the woods yet — are fired FBI Director James Comey and fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, both of whom are alleged to have leaked confidential and classified materials to members of the media for self-serving purposes.
As Attorney General Sessions noted, Albury’s arrest and sentencing should serve as a warning to others in the administration who might be inclined to leak information to the media.
Such leaking is not being tolerated by the Trump administration, and when found, leakers are being held accountable for their illegal actions. Hopefully, this warning was heard loud and clear.