Add Microsoft And Another Congressional Staffer To The List Of Entities Targeted In Trump DOJ Leak Investigations

from the just-waiting-on-the-yahoo!-revelations-now dept

The hits just keep on coming. Gag orders are being lifted or expiring and we're finding out even more about DOJ leak investigations under Trump. Under AGs Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr, the DOJ targeted journalists, Congressional reps... even readers of USA Today.

The DOJ went after journalists working for the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN while trying to hunt down the source of leaks, sending subpoenas to third party service providers hoping to acquire phone records and email metadata.

The most recent revelation exposed the DOJ's targeting of Rep. Adam Schiff -- one of Trump's many, many punching bags -- in a leak investigation. The DOJ sent a grand jury subpoena to Apple, seeking metadata for 109 identifiers, specifically 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses. The information sought covered not only Schiff but his staffers and family members. Another Congressional Rep, Eric Swalwell, was targeted by the same subpoena.

It appears no third party was left out of the DOJ's attempt to hunt down leakers. The latest news on the DOJ's leak hunting pulls in Microsoft.

Microsoft in 2017 received a subpoena for a congressional staff member's personal email account, a company spokesperson said via email. The staffer hasn't been identified.

This subpoena came with a gag order attached.

The spokesperson added: "In this case, we were prevented from notifying the customer for more than two years because of a gag order. As soon as the gag order expired, we notified the customer who told us they were a congressional staffer."

And another two years before it was actually made public. I assume this didn't seem newsworthy to the staffer in 2019 when they were informed of the subpoena by Microsoft. But in 2021, with news about the DOJ's questionable investigative techniques breaking almost daily, it apparently seemed relevant enough to bring this to the media's attention.

Both President Biden and the DOJ have promised to stop seeking information about journalists and their sources during future leak investigations. Presumably government employees like the Congressional reps and staffers are still considered valid investigational targets when the DOJ looks for leakers. Whether this will continue to include family members of government employees remains to be seen.

The Inspector General of the DOJ has opened an investigation into these investigations. This will possibly result in even more information about its targeting of journalists coming to light. Unfortunately, it may also result in an exoneration of the DOJ, as its guidelines for seeking information about journalists were, until recently, pretty expansive. This means the DOJ could cause considerable constitutional trouble without breaking the rules it wrote for itself. If nothing else, we can hope the DOJ's promise to exclude journalists from leak investigations outlasts the current administration.

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Filed Under: adam schiff, doj, eric swalwell, gag order, jeff sessions, leak investigations, surveillance, whistleblowers, william barr
Companies: apple, microsoft


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  • identicon
    Anonymous, 15 Jun 2021 @ 7:56am

    Another crappy article by TIm Cushings

    This article is just crap. As if, the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN weren't crappy sources of news, that were never falsifying "leaks", which they were because Adam Schiff pushed "Russia Gate", which was a lie, for almost four years straight, lying about Russia, wasting taxpayers money over a hoax bs story started by Hillary Clinton's campaign to alter investigations of their email scandal which they blamed on Russia hackers, which was also a lie. Obviously, since this article fails to mention these facts brings the conclusion that Tim Cushings is not including facts that are inconvenient to him to mention in this article.

    It is also worth mentioning that Tim Cushings does not do investigative journalism, he pushes BS propaganda narratives, like this article that is less than one page, ONE PAGE to pitch Joe Biden as a "good president", when he's not, he's a corrupt piece of garbage, pushing lies about Russia hacking American businesses, which was also not mentioned in this article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2021 @ 7:58am

    subpoena

    ...so DOJ Executive Branch bureaucrats can just "subpoena" whatever they feel like, whenever they feel like it ??

    Subpoena is solely a judicial power, not in any way legally authorized to DOJ.

    So who the helll actually issued/signed these political "Subpoenas" ??
    That's the key issue that the Federal Court system is automatically responsible for.
    Any internal DOJ issuance of subpoenas is de facto unconstitutional.
    Faulty subpoenas issued by some rubber-stamp judge or flunkie magistrate should be quickly nullified by higher courts (if the Judicial Branch of government was not also politicized).
    I

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 15 Jun 2021 @ 8:19am

    Besides "bad form", is the DOJ guilty of breaking any laws in this case?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2021 @ 2:07pm

      Re:

      The sad part is they're not. The. DOJ was still "investigating", hence why they only used subpoenas. If they filed for a warrant over this lunacy (sorry Blue, but there's no other word for Der Trumpenfurher's little stunt) then it would have been illegal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 15 Jun 2021 @ 8:21am

    Cheeto Christ, Stupid Czar: Using the DOJ to look for crimes where none could be found. And yet, committing crimes left and right, doing his best to force the DOJ not to look at him and his cronies.

    This is what a banana republic is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2021 @ 9:01am

    Forget next administration

    I would like to see it last for even one term first. DC is loaded to the gills with narcissistic hypocritical whiney little bitches who do a 180 when it is their ox who is gored.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kallethen, 15 Jun 2021 @ 9:41am

    If nothing else, we can hope the DOJ's promise to exclude journalists from leak investigations outlasts the current administration.

    I consider myself an optimist. Yet I barely dare to hope the promise lasts through the current administration, let alone the next.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2021 @ 10:48am

    the DOJ has opened an investigation into these investigations.

    It's investigations all the way down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Jun 2021 @ 10:55am

    Unless it was a pinky-promise anyway, they won't break that

    If nothing else, we can hope the DOJ's promise to exclude journalists from leak investigations outlasts the current administration.

    Hope for a sandwich delivered by a leprechaun riding a unicorn instead, you're more likely to get that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    greenlandscapes (profile), 16 Jun 2021 @ 9:48am

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