Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

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lennygoran
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Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by lennygoran » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:54 am

Remember when Kamala Questioned Barr?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktdi_L0rYkk



Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

The Justice Department seized records from Apple for metadata of House Intelligence Committee members, their aides and family members.



By Katie Benner, Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman
Published June 10, 2021Updated June 11, 2021, 7:04 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor.

All told, the records of at least a dozen people tied to the committee were seized in 2017 and early 2018, including those of Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the panel’s top Democrat and now its chairman, according to committee officials and two other people briefed on the inquiry. Representative Eric Swalwell of California said in an interview Thursday night that he had also been notified that his data had been subpoenaed.

Prosecutors, under the beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry.

But William P. Barr revived languishing leak investigations after he became attorney general a year later. He moved a trusted prosecutor from New Jersey with little relevant experience to the main Justice Department to work on the Schiff-related case and about a half-dozen others, according to three people with knowledge of his work who did not want to be identified discussing federal investigations.

The zeal in the Trump administration’s efforts to hunt leakers led to the extraordinary step of subpoenaing communications metadata from members of Congress — a nearly unheard-of move outside of corruption investigations. While Justice Department leak investigations are routine, current and former congressional officials familiar with the inquiry said they could not recall an instance in which the records of lawmakers had been seized as part of one.

Moreover, just as it did in investigating news organizations, the Justice Department secured a gag order on Apple that expired this year, according to a person familiar with the inquiry, so lawmakers did not know they were being investigated until Apple informed them last month.

Prosecutors also eventually secured subpoenas for reporters’ records to try to identify their confidential sources, a move that department policy allows only after all other avenues of inquiry are exhausted.

The subpoenas remained secret until the Justice Department disclosed them in recent weeks to the news organizations — The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN — revelations that set off criticism that the government was intruding on press freedoms.

The gag orders and records seizures show how aggressively the Trump administration pursued the inquiries while Mr. Trump declared war on the news media and perceived enemies whom he routinely accused of disclosing damaging information about him, including Mr. Schiff and James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director whom prosecutors focused on in the leak inquiry involving Times records.
ImageFormer President Donald J. Trump repeatedly attacked Representative Adam B. Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Former President Donald J. Trump repeatedly attacked Representative Adam B. Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

“Notwithstanding whether there was sufficient predication for the leak investigation itself, including family members and minor children strikes me as extremely aggressive,” said David Laufman, a former Justice Department official who worked on leak investigations. “In combination with former President Trump’s unmistakable vendetta against Congressman Schiff, it raises serious questions about whether the manner in which this investigation was conducted was influenced by political considerations rather than purely legal ones.”

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment, as did Mr. Barr and a representative for Apple.

As the years wore on, some officials argued in meetings that charges were becoming less realistic, former Justice Department officials said: They lacked strong evidence, and a jury might not care about information reported years earlier.

The Trump administration also declassified some of the information, making it harder for prosecutors to argue that publishing it had harmed the United States. And the president’s attacks on Mr. Schiff and Mr. Comey would allow defense lawyers to argue that any charges were attempts to wield the power of law enforcement against Mr. Trump’s enemies.

But Mr. Barr directed prosecutors to continue investigating, contending that the Justice Department’s National Security Division had allowed the cases to languish, according to three people briefed on the cases. Some cases had nothing to do with leaks about Mr. Trump and involved sensitive national security information, one of the people said. But Mr. Barr’s overall view of leaks led some people in the department to eventually see the inquiries as politically motivated.

Mr. Schiff called the subpoenas for data on committee members and staff another example of Mr. Trump using the Justice Department as a “cudgel against his political opponents and members of the media.”

“It is increasingly apparent that those demands did not fall on deaf ears,” Mr. Schiff said in a statement. “The politicization of the department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by the former president.”

He said the department informed him in May that the investigation into his committee was closed. But he called on its independent inspector general to investigate the leak case and others that “suggest the weaponization of law enforcement,” an appeal joined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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Early Hunt for Leaks

Soon after Mr. Trump took office in 2017, press reports based on sensitive or classified intelligence threw the White House into chaos. They detailed conversations between the Russian ambassador to the United States at the time and Mr. Trump’s top aides, the president’s pressuring of the F.B.I. and other matters related to the Russia investigation.

The White House was adamant that the sources be found and prosecuted, and the Justice Department began a broad look at national security officials from the Obama administration, according to five people briefed on the inquiry.

While most officials were ruled out, investigators opened cases that focused on Mr. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe, the people said. Prosecutors also began to scrutinize the House Intelligence Committee, including Mr. Schiff, as a potential source of the leaks. As the House’s chief intelligence oversight body, the committee has regular access to sensitive government secrets.


Justice Department National Security Division officials briefed the deputy attorney general’s office nearly every other week on the investigations, three former department officials said.

In 2017 and 2018, a grand jury subpoenaed Apple and another internet service provider for the records of the people associated with the Intelligence Committee. They learned about most of the subpoenas last month, when Apple informed them that their records had been shared but did not detail the extent of the request, committee officials said. A second service provider had notified one member of the committee’s staff about such a request last year.

It was not clear why family members or children were involved, but the investigators could have sought the accounts because they were linked or on the theory that parents were using their children’s phones or computers to hide contacts with journalists.

There do not appear to have been similar grand jury subpoenas for records of members or staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to another official familiar with the matter. A spokesman for Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee did not respond to a question about whether they were issued subpoenas. The Justice Department has declined to tell Democrats on the committee whether any Republicans were investigated.

Apple turned over only metadata and account information, not photos, emails or other content, according to the person familiar with the inquiry.

After the records provided no proof of leaks, prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington discussed ending that piece of their investigation. But Mr. Barr’s decision to bring in an outside prosecutor helped keep the case alive.

A CNN report in August 2019 about another leak investigation said prosecutors did not recommend to their superiors that they charge Mr. Comey over memos that he wrote and shared about his interactions with Mr. Trump, which were not ultimately found to contain classified information.

Mr. Barr was wary of how Mr. Trump would react, according to a person familiar with the situation. Indeed, Mr. Trump berated the attorney general, who defended the department, telling the president that there was no case against Mr. Comey to be made, the person said. But an investigation remained open into whether Mr. Comey had leaked other classified information about Russia.
Revived Cases

In February 2020, Mr. Barr placed the prosecutor from New Jersey, Osmar Benvenuto, into the National Security Division. His background was in gang and health care fraud prosecutions.

Through a Justice Department spokesman, Mr. Benvenuto declined to comment.

Mr. Benvenuto’s appointment was in keeping with Mr. Barr’s desire to keep matters of great interest to the White House in the hands of a small circle of trusted aides and officials.


With Mr. Benvenuto involved in the leak inquiries, the F.B.I. questioned Michael Bahar, a former House Intelligence Committee staff member who had gone into private practice in May 2017. The interview, conducted in late spring of 2020, did not yield evidence that led to charges.

Prosecutors also redoubled efforts to find out who had leaked material related to Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser. Details about conversations he had in late 2016 with the Russian ambassador at the time, Sergey I. Kislyak, appeared in news reports in early 2017 and eventually helped prompt both his ouster and federal charges against him. The discussions had also been considered highly classified because the F.B.I. had used a court-authorized secret wiretap of Mr. Kislyak to monitor them.

But John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence and close ally of Mr. Trump’s, seemed to damage the leak inquiry in May 2020, when he declassified transcripts of the calls. The authorized disclosure would have made it more difficult for prosecutors to argue that the news stories had hurt national security.

Separately, one of the prosecutors whom Mr. Barr had directed to re-examine the F.B.I.’s criminal case against Mr. Flynn interviewed at least one law enforcement official in the leak investigation after the transcripts were declassified, a move that a person familiar with the matter labeled politically fraught.

The biweekly updates on the leak investigations between top officials continued. Julie Edelstein, the deputy chief of counterintelligence and export control, and Matt Blue, the head of the department’s counterterrorism section, briefed John C. Demers, the head of the National Security Division, and Seth DuCharme, an official in the deputy attorney general’s office, on their progress. Mr. Benvenuto was involved in briefings with Mr. Barr.

Mr. Demers, Ms. Edelstein, Mr. Blue and Mr. Benvenuto are still at the Justice Department. Their continued presence and leadership roles would seem to ensure that Mr. Biden’s appointees, including Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, would have a full understanding of the investigations.


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/10/us/p ... e=Homepage

maestrob
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by maestrob » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:25 am

The paranoia and vengeance of the former administration knew no bounds. It's a good thing that the insanity is now coming to light.

Lock them all up!

Never forget. :evil:

Rach3
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by Rach3 » Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:41 am

What did AG Merrick Garland know and when did he know it ?

Apple notified the Congressmen 30 days ago. Garland has done zero we know of, not even commented. Seems there should have been resignations called for on the spot ?

maestrob
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by maestrob » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:56 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 11:41 am
What did AG Merrick Garland know and when did he know it ?

Apple notified the Congressmen 30 days ago. Garland has done zero we know of, not even commented. Seems there should have been resignations called for on the spot ?
I suspect that Garland wants to retain his authority over the Trump stooges still employed in the Justice Department so he can have better leverage to discover the creepy machinations of what went on.

Please believe me when I say that MG certainly has no love for these guys.

Carefully crafted public statements will appear in due course, I imagine.

Rach3
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by Rach3 » Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:56 pm

maestrob wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:56 pm
I suspect that Garland wants to retain his authority over the Trump stooges still employed in the Justice Department so he can have better leverage to discover the creepy machinations of what went on.
Good point.

However,certain other actions or inaction are of concern, too, eg.the defamation case against Trump, the DOJ memo whether Trump committed crimes as Mueller suggested.

lennygoran
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:09 am

Rach3 wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:56 pm
the DOJ memo whether Trump committed crimes as Mueller suggested.
Obstruction of Justice for sure-lock him up! Regards, Len :lol:

Rach3
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by Rach3 » Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:02 am

lennygoran wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:54 am

WASHINGTON — As the Justice Department investigated who was behind leaks of classified information early in the Trump administration, it took a highly unusual step: Prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, aides and family members. One was a minor.
A modern-day "Kristallnacht".

lennygoran
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Location: new york city

Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:34 am

Rach3 wrote:
Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:02 am
A modern-day "Kristallnacht".
This made me think of what happened to mussolini! Regards, Len :x

maestrob
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by maestrob » Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:12 am

Rach3 wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:56 pm
maestrob wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:56 pm
I suspect that Garland wants to retain his authority over the Trump stooges still employed in the Justice Department so he can have better leverage to discover the creepy machinations of what went on.
Good point.

However,certain other actions or inaction are of concern, too, eg.the defamation case against Trump, the DOJ memo whether Trump committed crimes as Mueller suggested.
Also, it's worth pointing out that these creeps are civil servants and are thus protected by union regulations that would not allow them to be dismissed summarily without cause. Thus Garland must build a case against them, something I'm quite sure he will do over time as they will tend to rat on each other as evidence builds.

Still waters run deep.

Although it's a bit off-topic here, I am also quite alarmed by the many threats of violence against election officials that are being recorded around the country, enough so that Garland made a speech referring to it yesterday, excerpts of which were broadcast on CNN and MSNBC.

It's not only against Raffensberger in Georgia, but also the resignation of one Asian-American county official in California that has been well-respected there for about 17 years due to death threats against him and his family. Rachel Maddow played some of the phone calls, and these terrorists sounded like they were reading from a script.

Chilling. These guys aren't fading away by any means. So far, 400+ have been arrested for invading the capitol, with more to come.

Lock them ALL up, and quickly!

Never forget. :evil:

maestrob
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by maestrob » Sat Jun 12, 2021 12:56 pm

Justice Dept. Watchdog to Investigate Seizure of Democrats’ Data

Democrats denounced the Trump administration’s seizure of lawmakers’ data as an abuse of power and called on Republicans to back the congressional inquiry.


By Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage
June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s independent inspector general opened an investigation on Friday into the decision by federal prosecutors to secretly seize the data of House Democrats and reporters as investigators hunted down who was leaking classified information early in the Trump administration.

At the same time, top Senate Democrats demanded that the former attorneys general Jeff Sessions and William P. Barr testify publicly before Congress about the leak investigations, including about subpoenas issued to tech companies in 2017 and 2018 for the records of at least a dozen people tied to the House Intelligence Committee. The senators vowed to “vigorously investigate” and called on Republicans to join them.

Apple, which complied with a subpoena for information related to more than 100 email addresses and phone numbers in February 2018, said on Friday that it did not realize that the records belonged to Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, and his associates. Microsoft said it was also subpoenaed by a grand jury as early as November 2017 for data related to an email account for an aide to the panel.

Democrats and privacy advocates denounced the exceedingly unusual seizures related to Congress, reported on Thursday by The New York Times, as an abuse of power. Some called on lawmakers to pursue legal changes to crack down on the kind of gag orders used for years to keep companies from disclosing the subpoenas. Others urged the Justice Department to punish investigators who sought the records.

“I hope every prosecutor who was involved in this is thrown out of the department,” said Representative Eric Swalwell of California, a Democrat on the intelligence panel whose records were also seized. “It crosses the line of what we do in this country.”

The episode added fuel to accusations of politicization in the Trump-era Justice Department, where federal prosecutors seemingly gave lenient treatment to some of the former president’s allies and targeted reporters and Democrats he reviled as the administration sought to stop leaks about Trump associates and Russia.

The Biden Justice Department had disclosed in recent weeks that the same investigators secretly seized phone records of journalists at The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times. Related fights over email data spilled over into the early Biden era, including the imposition of gag orders on CNN and Times executives and lawyers that were only recently lifted.

The White House vowed again on Friday to put an end to those practices, while also saying that President Biden was adamant that the Justice Department must be free of political influence.

Andrew Bates, a deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement that “the reported conduct” of the Trump-era Justice Department was “shocking, and clearly fits within an appalling trend that represents the opposite of how authority should be used.”

In an interview with Politico on Friday, Mr. Barr sought to distance himself from the tactics. He said he was “not aware of any congressman’s records being sought in a leak case” while he was attorney general. The subpoenas to Apple and Microsoft for congressional records were issued before his tenure.

Congressional Democrats welcomed the assurance from the Biden administration but signaled that they were unwilling to take the Justice Department at its word. Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the department had a “very short window to make a clean break from the Trump era on this matter” before his panel would step in.

“We expect the department to provide a full accounting of these cases, and we expect the attorney general to hold the relevant personnel accountable for their conduct,” Mr. Nadler said. “If the department does not make substantial progress toward these two goals, then we on the Judiciary Committee will have no choice but to step in and do the work ourselves.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, might stand the best chance of piecing together a full picture of what took place. He said on Friday that he would review the department’s use of subpoenas and other legal maneuvers to secretly seize communications records associated with both Congress and reporters.

“The review will examine the department’s compliance with applicable D.O.J. policies and procedures, and whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations,” Mr. Horowitz said.

His announcement followed a referral by the deputy attorney general, Lisa O. Monaco, according to a senior Justice Department official; Attorney General Merrick B. Garland directed her to take that step, the official said. Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for an inspector general investigation.

Mr. Schiff welcomed the inquiry but said it was insufficient. He called on Congress to take a broader look at “the systemic politicization of the department and its mission, and other flagrant abuses.”

An investigation by Senate Democrats could provide that broader perspective. But it might be hampered by Republicans’ willingness to participate in an evenly divided Senate, complicating the ability of investigators to issue subpoenas for information or to compel testimony.

“This issue should not be partisan; under the Constitution, Congress is a coequal branch of government and must be protected from an overreaching executive, and we expect that our Republican colleagues will join us in getting to the bottom of this serious matter,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

But Republicans did not appear eager to take part. Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, issued a skeptical statement suggesting that the Trump administration had reason to investigate whether lawmakers or their staff were leaking information, and that he would prefer to simply let Mr. Horowitz’s work play out.

“Investigations into members of Congress and staff are nothing new, especially for classified leaks,” he said. “The Justice Department has specific procedures for such sensitive investigations, and the inspector general is already working to determine if they were followed.”

Though leak investigations are routine, seizures of reporters’ information is fraught — and, according to current and former officials at the Justice Department and in Congress, seizing data on lawmakers outside the context of a corruption investigation is nearly unheard-of.

Secretly seizing communications-related data about members of Congress and their staff and families for a leak investigation was “extremely unusual,” said David Kris, who led the Justice Department’s national security division during President Obama’s first term.

“You likely wouldn’t do this at all,” he said. “It’s definitely fraught. It would definitely get high-level review and approval; it’s unthinkable to me that it would go anywhere short of the attorney general.”

The Times also reported that prosecutors had struggled to develop information tying members of the Intelligence Committee or their aides to the leaks, but Mr. Barr, after he was sworn in in 2019, objected to closing the inquiry. The case was ultimately closed without charges.

A person close to Mr. Sessions said that he, too, did not know that the Justice Department had subpoenaed data belonging to members of the House Intelligence Committee and their staff and family. At the time, investigators were trying to identify the source of leaks about the Russia investigation; Mr. Sessions was recused from most matters related to Russia after he had spoken with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign.

Rod J. Rosenstein, Mr. Sessions’s deputy, who handled matters from which the attorney general recused himself, declined to comment.

In this case, affiliates of the Intelligence Committee learned the full extent of the scrutiny only in May, after a gag order on Apple expired and the company notified individuals whose data had been turned over pursuant to the subpoenas.

But there were earlier signs of activity as well. The F.B.I. questioned Michael Bahar, a former House Intelligence Committee staff member, in the spring of 2020, according to current and former government officials.

A copy of the subpoena to Microsoft reviewed by The Times shows that the department was seeking records going back to April 2016 that might have tied the committee official to particular accounts, like information about who was using the account, with what devices, how they were logging on, from where and when, and other subscriber information given to Microsoft when the account was set up.

A Microsoft spokesman confirmed on Friday that it had received the subpoena but had also been subject to a gag order for more than two years that prevented the company from informing the aide about the seizure.

Katie Benner contributed reporting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/11/us/p ... e=Homepage

Rach3
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by Rach3 » Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:11 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Jun 12, 2021 10:12 am

Also, it's worth pointing out that these creeps are civil servants and are thus protected by union regulations that would not allow them to be dismissed summarily without cause. Thus Garland must build a case against them, something I'm quite sure he will do over time as they will tend to rat on each other as evidence builds.

Still waters run deep.

Another good point , let's hope there is method in his "mad" -ness.

maestrob
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Re: Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

Post by maestrob » Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:58 pm

Justice Dept. Official to Step Down Amid Uproar Over Leaks Inquiry

John Demers, a Trump appointee who remained in the department, would typically have been briefed on investigations like those involving the secret collection of journalists’ phone records.

By Katie Benner
June 14, 2021
Updated 2:52 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — John Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, will step down at the end of next week, according to an email he sent to his staff on Monday, a departure that was arranged months ago but comes amid backlash over investigations into leaks of classified information.

Mr. Demers was the longest-serving Senate-confirmed official from the Trump administration to remain at the Justice Department during the Biden presidency.

“You can probably imagine that I’ve stayed much longer than planned, but long ago I told the new folks that when school was out, I was out,” Mr. Demers, who has school-age children, wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. “And that’s the end of next week.”

Mark J. Lesko, the acting top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, will replace Mr. Demers on an interim basis until the division’s new leader is confirmed by the Senate, according to an official familiar with the matter. President Biden has nominated Matthew G. Olsen, an Uber executive who has served in several national security roles in government, to serve as the head of the National Security Division. His Senate confirmation hearing could happen as soon as next month.

John Carlin, the second in command in the deputy attorney general’s office, had asked Mr. Demers in April to remain at the department, according to the person. Lisa O. Monaco had just been confirmed to serve as the deputy attorney general, and the three officials had a long history of working together on sensitive national security cases.

Mr. Demers asked to leave by summer, and the two men eventually agreed that he would stay on through June 25, the person said.

But Mr. Demers’s departure also comes as Democrats and First Amendment advocates have attacked the Justice Department following revelations that prosecutors supervised by Mr. Demers seized the records of reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN and of top House Democrats while investigating leaks of classified information. The department’s inspector general announced an investigation on Friday into the matter.

While it is common for the Justice Department to try to find out who shared classified information with the media, it is highly unusual to secretly gather records from the press and lawmakers. The prosecutors also prevented the lawyers and executives of The Times and CNN from disclosing that records had been taken, even to their newsroom leaders, another highly aggressive step.

Such moves require signoff by the attorney general. But Mr. Demers and his top counterintelligence deputies in the division would typically be briefed and updated on those efforts.

Much of the spotlight on national security cases during Mr. Demers’ three-year run focused instead on the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller, III, who ran the Russia investigation, the Justice Department’s highest profile and politically fraught national security matter.

But Mr. Demers’s ability to skirt controversy ended in recent weeks as the revelations about reporters’ record seizures and the gag orders came to light.


Justice Department officials say that all appropriate approvals were given for those orders, meaning that the attorney general at the time, not Mr. Demers, signed off.

Former Attorney General William P. Barr approved the decision to seize records from CNN and The Washington Post in 2020, people with knowledge of the leak investigations have said. But it is unclear who approved the request for email records from Google that belonged to Times reporters. The request was filed with a court days after Mr. Barr left, though he could have signed off on it before leaving.

A Justice Department spokesman declined last week to identify whether Mr. Barr or his successor, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen, approved that move.

Leak investigators in 2018 also obtained data from Microsoft and Apple that belonged to Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, including Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California. Mr. Schiff is now the panel’s chairman.

In those instances, the Justice Department also told the technology companies not to inform customers about the subpoenas until recently.

The data was collected and the gag orders were imposed on the tech companies weeks before Mr. Demers was confirmed to lead the National Security Division.

Still, some Democrats demanded answers about what he knew about the leak cases.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, called on Mr. Demers on Sunday to testify before Congress.

When Mr. Demers became the head of the National Security Division on Feb. 22, 2018, he was praised by both Democrats and Republicans, who noted that he had worked under administrations of both parties.

The confirmation is his third stint at the department. From 2006, when the National Security Division was created, to 2009, Mr. Demers was part of its leadership team. He had previously worked in the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, essentially the government’s lead legal adviser, and in the office of the deputy attorney general.

He graduated from Harvard Law School, where he and Mr. Carlin were friends and classmates.

As the head of the National Security Division, he will likely best be known for his work to combat the threat of Chinese intellectual property theft and espionage.

When the White House announced Mr. Olsen’s nomination to take over the division, Mr. Demers said in an email to his staff that “Matt is the right person to lead this division,” according to a copy obtained by The Times.

Before joining Uber, Mr. Olsen worked as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, served in top roles at the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency and as director of the National Counterterrorism Center during the Obama administration.

Mr. Lesko has served as the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York since March, replacing Seth DuCharme. Mr. Lesko was a prosecutor in the district from 2002 to 2009 and returned to the office in 2018.

Nicole Hong contributed reporting from New York.

Katie Benner covers the Justice Department. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/14/us/p ... pe=Article

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