US government memo on the danger of leaking to media has been leaked

Leaking is "to the detriment of the reputation of the institution from which the leak emanated”, says the four page document

 

Niamh McIntyre
Saturday 25 February 2017 10:39
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Top lawyers have formed a group to try and hold Donald Trump accountable
Top lawyers have formed a group to try and hold Donald Trump accountable

A US government memo setting out strategies for preventing leaks of classified information, has been leaked to the media.

The four-page document details how Donald Trump’s new secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, might be able to prevent the public disclosure of sensitive information, including issues affecting ongoing policy discussions within the department.

“When such information is leaked … It chills the willingness of senior government officials to seek robust and candid advice, which ultimately is to the detriment of informed policymaking and the reputation of the institution from which the leak emanated,” it states.

The document claims that leaks coming out of the Department could hinder staff from participating fully in these policy discussions, due to security concerns.

“If the Department is going to be able to influence policy deliberations, we need to have a reputation for engaging responsibly in those deliberations,” it says.

Donald Trump says 'the leaks are real, the news is fake' in response to Michael Flynn resignation

State Department staff told The Washington Post that Mr Tillerson and his staff have already taken action to prevent further leaking of classified information.

The Secretary of State has reportedly excluded a number of officials from his daily meeting with senior staff, and restricted the circulation of the minutes of meetings with foreign officials.

Staff have also been told that requests for sensitive information should be made exclusively over the phone, or in person, to avoid the potential leaking of an email chain.

However, these new measures were unable to prevent the publication of the leaked memo.

President Trump has repeatedly criticised “illegal” government leaks and vowed to find those responsible.

Many of the leaks have concerned his administration’s unusual relationship with Russia, but he has also suffered from leaks concerning phone calls with foreign leaders.

Early drafts of controversial executive orders have also been made public.

Mr Trump has not always taken such a strong line against leaking.

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