The Trump administration is battling an unprecedented wave of national security leaks that are appearing in the press at least once a day, significantly more than either the former Obama or Bush administration experienced in the same time frame, according to a new Senate investigation that warns these leaks are endangering U.S. security operations and relations with allied nations.
"Since President Trump assumed office, our nation has faced an unprecedented wave of potentially damaging leaks of information," according to a new report published by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Recent Stories in National Security
"Under President Trump, leaks are flowing at the rate of one a day," according to the report, which notes that "under President Trump's predecessors, leaks of national security information were relatively rare."
These leaks, often of highly classified national security information, are meant to undermine President Donald Trump's administration and handicap his national security apparatus, according to sources inside and outside the White House familiar with the situation.
The leaks are becoming increasingly dangerous, according to both the report and separate sources, and are now endangering sensitive U.S. operations abroad.
"Leaks with the capacity to damage national security flowed about seven times faster under President Trump than during President Obama's and President George W. Bush's first 126 days," according to the Senate investigation.
"The Trump administration faced 125 leaked stories—one leak a day—containing information that is potentially damaging to national security under the standards laid out in a 2009 Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama," according to the report, which examined open-source material published during the first months of the Trump administration.
The investigations discovered at least "125 stories with leaked information potentially damaging to national security," according to the report, which states that "even a narrow search revealed leaks of comparable information during the Trump administration that were about seven times higher than the same period during the two previous administrations."
The leaks are kneecapping the Trump administration and preventing it from protecting the United States.
"President Trump and his administration have faced apparent leaks on nearly a daily basis, potentially imperiling national security at a time of growing threats at home and abroad," the report states. "The commander-in-chief needs to be able to effectively manage U.S. security, intelligence operations and foreign relations without worrying that his most private meetings, calls and deliberations will be outed for the entire world to see."
The unauthorized disclosures ranged from information about Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election to intimate conversations Trump had with foreign leaders inside the White House. Other articles includes classified information about U.S. operations against terror organizations abroad.
The Senate committee notes that all such disclosures are punishable by jail time under federal law.
The majority of these leaks, at least 78, concerned Russia and a possible probe into alleged collusion between a Trump official and Moscow, according to the investigation.
"Other leaks disclosed potentially sensitive intelligence on U.S. adversaries or possible military plans against them," the report notes. "One leak, about the investigation of a terrorist attack, caused a diplomatic incident between the United States and a close ally."
The report is referring to leaks that detailed Israeli intelligence about ISIS. The disclosure of this information is said to have angered the Israelis and caused a rift between Jerusalem and the Trump administration.
"Leaked stories appeared in 18 news outlets, sourced to virtually every possible permutation of anonymous current and former U.S. officials, some clearly from the intelligence community," the report found. "One story cited more than two dozen anonymous sources."
Just about all of the stories including unauthorized leaks targeted Trump directly or those in his administration.
"In contrast, only half of the stories leaked during the comparable period of the Obama administration were about President Obama or his administration; the other half concerned President Bush and his anti-terrorism tactics," the report found.
A majority of these stories appeared in the Washington Post and the New York Times. Many also appeared in news outlets known for their liberal bias.
Senate investigators have concluded that the "sheer volume and scope of the sources indicates that they are coming from across the government, with some clearly from within the intelligence community, given the large number of stories reporting on secret intelligence and how publications cite their sources."