Quora Question: Are White House Leaks Illegal?

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Microphones remain at the ready as night falls on the entrance to the West Wing of the White House in Washington, May 15. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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Answer from Shannon Fisher, Radio Talk Show Host. Social and Political Commentator:

There are leakers in every department of the federal government, including intelligence agencies. Any information leaked that is not classified would not warrant an official investigation, as it is not against the law. The leaks are personally enraging to President Trump, though.

The first few leaks from the White House were investigated internally, with the president’s staff eagerly trying to find the culprit(s). They even checked staff phones for message-deletion apps. Trump has been immensely distrustful of everyone outside of his inner circle, saying staffers are on a need-to-know basis for every aspect of White House business.

As for leaks that originate outside of the White House, the president has less direct power to investigate them. The legality of the leak, or the extent to which it puts our men and women in danger, will dictate which leaks are investigated. If the leaked information is not classified, it is probable that heads of the departments, agencies, and bureaus will not want to waste resources trying to route out leakers.

While these leaks are damaging to Trump’s presidency, the significance of most of the leaks is minimal. It occupies the 24-hour news cycle, and each leak raises more questions about the Trump/Russia connection, but the most serious leaks are those that impact our foreign policy. Photos of the crime scene of the Manchester bombing, and details of the conversation with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister in which Trump leaked classified information, had an impact on the information our allies share with us. All else is more personally detrimental to Trump and his team. While bothersome, they are not illegal and not likely to be investigated.

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