Rep. Stewart (R-Utah) introduced H.R. 3448 to prevent the leaking of classified information. The Classified Information Protection Act simplifies existing law and imposes penalties for unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
“Leaking of classified information harms our nation’s credibility and undermines the brave men and women who protect our national security every day. Leakers are not heroes. Leakers are criminals. I want to be very clear that leakers are not whistleblowers. Current law already outlines how whistleblowers should proceed. My legislation is the first step in providing tools for prosecuting unauthorized disclosure of classified information.” – Rep. Chris Stewart
Leaks of classified information have been historically rare. According to researchers with the Senate Committee on Homeland Security Committee, the Trump administration faced 125 leaked stories in 126 days. Former CIA Director John Brennan described these leaks as “appalling” and “very, very damaging.” The New York Times has described this increase as “staggering.”
There is no single law which governs unauthorized disclosures of national security information. Instead, a patchwork of statutes and presidential directives determines how unauthorized disclosures are addressed. As a result, prosecutors rely on statutes prohibiting leaks only when leaks have a clear connection to a foreign agent or if the classified information leaked is related to National Defense Information. Congressman Stewart’s bill, Classified Information Protection Act, addresses this shortcoming by creating a single statute by which all leaks can be addressed.
To hold leakers accountable, the Classified Information Protection Act allows for leakers to be fined or imprisoned for up to three years.
For a PDF copy of the bill, click here.