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State Dept. Memo Warning Employees Against Leaking Is Immediately Leaked

So-called "low-life leakers" certainly have a sense of irony

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pauses while speaking to State Department employees upon arrival at the State Department in Washington on Feb. 2. (Photo: AP)

The leaks just keep on coming.

While President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed frustration over the unsanctioned release of internal documents and information, the Washington Post reported Friday morning on the existence of a State Department memo specifically warning agency employees against unauthorized leaks.

How did the paper know about the memo? Because it was leaked, of course.

As the Post's Josh Rogin reports:

The State Department legal office prepared a four-page memo for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warning of the dangers of leaking by State Department employees. It promptly leaked, to me. That’s only the latest sign that the relationship between the Trump administration political appointees and the State Department professional workforce is still very much a work in progress.


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The Feb. 20 memo by State Department acting legal adviser Richard Visek to Tillerson is entitled “SBU: Protecting Privileged Information.” The SBU stands for Sensitive But Unclassified, a designation used on documents that are not technically secret but also not supposed to be shared. The memo itself is marked SBU and begins with detailed explanation of how and when Tillerson has the privilege of protecting certain types of information from public disclosure, such as anything that has to do with internal State Department deliberations.

It's an ironic twist, of course, that comes as the president continues to grapple with many agency employees skeptical of his administration's approach to governing and offers further evidence that Trump will continue to face internal dissent.


Following the resignation earlier this month of national security advisor Michael Flynn—a departure prompted by leaked information that showed Flynn had lied to or misled Vice President Mike Pence over conversations with a high-level Russian official—Trump argued the "real story" was not Flynn's behavior, but the leaks that exposed them.  And just last week, as Common Dreams also reported, Trump vowed to root out those who would give unauthorized information to the press or public, calling them "low-life leakers."

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