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Patricia O'Connell
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Roderick Thomas Discusses Justice Department’s Investigations of Leaks to Media

The Financial Times
May 29, 2013

Roderick L. Thomas, chair of Wiley Rein’s White Collar Defense Practice, was quoted by The Financial Times today in an article about the U.S. Justice Department’s investigations into leaks of classified information to news organizations.

The agency has come under scrutiny this month amid revelations that it monitored the communications of reporters at The Associated Press and Fox News in an effort to identify who had provided them with classified national security data.

“These kinds of investigations are not new and they have not just happened under the Obama administration,” said Mr. Thomas, a former assistant U.S. attorney who served as the federal government’s lead counsel on more than 40 criminal and civil trials.

Classified government data is at greater risk for unauthorized disclosure than it was in the past, in part because of the Internet, he said.

“Everyone [these days] can just sit there at their desks and press ‘send,’” Mr. Thomas told The Financial Times. “Having some high-profile cases can be a deterrent.”

President Obama has directed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review the Justice Department’s guidelines on investigations involving reporters, and to consult with news organizations in the process. The agency’s current guidelines include strict rules for subpoenaing journalists or their records, according to the article.

“As a prosecutor, there are certain categories of people, like reporters, who if you are going to subpoena them, there is a rigid process to follow inside the DOJ,” Mr. Thomas said.