Bloomberg News reported on October 17 that Attorney General Eric Holder “prosecuted more government officials for alleged leaks under the World War I-era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined, including law-and-order Republicans John Mitchell, Edwin Meese and John Ashcroft.” :
The Justice Department said that there are established avenues for government employees to follow if they want to report misdeeds. The agency “does not target whistle-blowers in leak cases or any other cases,” Dean Boyd, a department spokesman, said.“An individual in authorized possession of classified information has no authority or right to unilaterally determine that it should be made public or otherwise disclose it,” he said.
However, when leaks to the press benefit the administration, prosecutions from the Jusitce Department are absent. For example, AG Holder was not prosecuting anyone over who leaked information about the killing of Oasma bin Laden. The Justice Department has yet to charge anyone over leaking information regarding the U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran as well as an al Qaida plan to blow up a U.S. bound airplane. In fact, the Justice Department ended up appointing one of two attorneys to the cyberattacks investigation who was an Obama donor.
“There’s a problem with prosecutions that don’t distinguish between bad people — people who spy for other governments, people who sell secrets for money — and people who are accused of having conversations and discussions,” said Abbe Lowell, attorney for Stephen J. Kim, an intelligence analyst charged under the Act, to Bloomberg News.
… On October 10, nearly one month after the deadly Benghazi attack that took the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, President Obama issued a policy directive on whistle blower protections.
The directive expanded the protections of the House’s Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which was designed to protect federal employees if they reported waste, fraud, or abuse through government officials— to executive branch agencies. National security and intelligence staffers would be included in the legislation through the directive. It. passed the lower chamber in September. The bill has yet to be passed by the Senate.
Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center of Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, told Bloomberg News that the Obama policy directive does not go far enough, because it “doesn’t include media representatives within the universe of people to whom the whistle-blower can make the disclosure.” Basically, the administration can still continue to prosecute intelligence staffers who disclose information to the media.