White House Launches Surprise Phone Checks On Staffers To Find "Leaker"

Tyler Durden's picture

In yet another ironic twist, the process (including random phone checks overseen by White House lawyers) by which Sean Spicer is cracking down on leaks from The White House has been leaked to Politico.

The push to snuff out leaks to the press comes after a week in which President Donald Trump expressed growing frustration with the media and the unauthorized sharing of information by individuals in his administration, and as was leaked to Politico...

Last week, after Spicer became aware that information had leaked out of a planning meeting with about a dozen of his communications staffers, he reconvened the group in his office to express his frustration over the number of private conversations and meetings that were showing up in unflattering news stories, according to sources in the room.

 

Upon entering Spicer’s second floor office, staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check," to prove they had nothing to hide.

 

The phone checks included whatever electronics staffers were carrying when they were summoned to the unexpected follow-up meeting, including government-issued and personal cell phones.

 

Notably, Spicer explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide - an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent - and Signal, another encrypted messaging system; was a violation of the Federal Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room.

Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media - so much for that.

It's not the first time that warnings about leaks have promptly leaked. The State Department's legal office issued a four-page memo warning of the dangers of leaks -- that memo was immediately posted by the Washington Post.

 


As a reminder, the costs of being caught are severe...

First, there’s the prohibition against disclosure of classified information. This is the obvious one, since any publication of classified material to an unauthorized party is illegal. Under the Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. § 798, a person guilty of this can end up in prison for 10 years and face a fine. If the leaks involved classified information that was sent to members of the press, the source could end up behind bars if they’re caught. Opponents of Hillary Clinton argued that she violated this with her handling of emails on a private server, but the FBI determined they did not have a strong enough case to prosecute. As LawNewz.com contributor Philip Holloway wrote, the information regarding Flynn’s wiretapped phone calls is Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), which is highly classified, so if one of the “current and former U.S. officials” is identified, they could be in trouble.

The form of the leaks could also determine whether additional charges appropriate. If information was merely spoken to a reporter, that’s one thing, but if actual files or physical materials were transferred, then 18 U.S.C. § 641 could kick in. That law says that anyone who steals or provides for another person’s use “any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency” is guilty of a crime. If a source of a government leak turned over a physical record, they could face 10 years in prison and a fine for it.

In addition to laws against revealing certain information, if the President discovers a source behind a leak, they could face additional charges if they lie about it. Besides perjury, which applies to anyone who lies under oath, false statements or covering up material facts in a federal investigation, either by the Department of Justice of Congress, can lead to five years in prison.

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IridiumRebel's picture

Wapo ought to love this one....

1980XLS's picture

The more "Controversy" the more Page hits and ad clicks.

Money is the only thing that motivates these greedy hypocrites.

Because it's certainly not ethics that compels them.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) 1980XLS Feb 26, 2017 8:29 PM

Gubmint agency phones are all digital now over LANs. The conservations can easily be recorded. NSA has them if you lost them.

knukles's picture

Why do people do things like this?  Why not just execute every last staffer in the Rose Garden in front of their replacements.
And every newbie gets to take home the head of the person they replaced, on a stick.  
I guaranfuckingtee that there'll be No More Leaks

In fact, I guarantee that they'll sit at their desks in catatonic shock.
Not a fucking whimper.

Well, maybe lots of whimpering, but Not a Single Goddamned Leak!

nmewn's picture

Jake Tapper: Did you see what knukles said on Zero Hedge!

Donna Brazille: I know, right! <sent from my i-phone>

Wolf Blitzer: Lets go to the big board now I think we've found another batch of Hillary voters in that crumbling Blue Wall that could pull this thing out.

Anderson Vanderbilt-Cooper: Will he still kill the mandate for everyone to have health insurance? 

John Harwood: Does this mean Hillary is not accepting the results of the election?

Anderson, Jake, Donna and Wolf: STFU John!!!

Martha Radditz: I could just cry.

bamawatson's picture

brian williams --- that's the truth

Delving Eye's picture

My money's on Senator John McCain.

Paper Boy's picture
Paper Boy (not verified) Delving Eye Feb 26, 2017 9:06 PM

They can take muh fone from muh cold, dead hands.

Nobodys Home's picture

That's easy enough to arrange.

TwelveOhOne's picture

I always thought that quote was unrealistic.  After they shoot me, they'll be taking the gun from my warm, cooling hands.

vulcanraven's picture

He didn't earn the nickname "songbird" for nuthin...

eatthebanksters's picture

I am really going t enjoy the show when they find the leaker/s...

nmewn's picture

Ya just gotta love the "collective psychosis" of a dimz mind.

On the one hand, Trump is an "un-American" agent of Putin! On the other, his stated intention to build more nuclear arms to oppose Putin will surely lead to nuclear Armageddon!

lol...I swear.

Oh, I almost forgot to tweak their psychosis...Hillary will never...EVER...be President! ;-)

Grave's picture

well they would be leaking like there's no tomorrow
except it would not be data, but urine and feces :p

Mustafa Kemal's picture

knuckles, it is an interesting idea, but I suspect it wont work even then. It would surely slow it to a trickle.

J S Bach's picture

In the good old days when traitors were discovered... they were summarily executed.  Oh, that Trump had the same power today.  There is nothing more abhorrent than a traitor - as Dante so elequantly detailed in his "Inferno".  (Traitors were relegated to the nethermost circle of hell.)

Croesus's picture

Death to Traitors!

@ President Trump:

I'd be willing to bet that I could narrow down the list of 12 people at the COM meeting, to 1-2 names.

At the same time however, the White House is probably crawling with bugs (the electronic kind).

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ Croesus,

Perhaps it's about time Trump move operations out of the WH.

Lynx Dogood's picture

Traitors should be delt with in the sme maanor todayy. No eexception!!!

nmewn's picture

So Spicer was right to exclude Politico after all.

socalbeach's picture

The leaker(s) are probably in the NSA.  Good luck trying to find them.

CheapBastard's picture

This BS rom these leakers and Hillbama/Soros people is all very disgraceful.

We have a democratically elected president who is also the Leader of the Free World and this is how the media and subversives act?

I am glad Trump and his team threw out those liars who print the fake news every day. Hopefully, they track down these leakers and lock them up for the full 10 years.

Logan 5's picture
Logan 5 (not verified) CheapBastard Feb 26, 2017 8:56 PM

It ought to be able to spot the Obama leftovers. They're the ones who carry around the 'My Friend Cayla' dolls & selfie sticks.

keep the bastards honest's picture

NSA is forced to pass on all info to all the intell agencies even coastal watch. And before the info  is classifed.

Obama set this up after the election. He can get copies of everything beofre the the NSA classifes it.

Moe Hamhead's picture

How many phones do you have?  Prepaid and otherwise!

phatfawzi's picture

Hey where is the guy that makes $7k a month. 

Vatican_cameo's picture

 

As long as there is never any consequences for the perpetrators, this will never stop.  Ass Clowns like Holder are found in contempt of Congress, nothing happens.  Everyone lies or even admits wrongdoing and it's business as usual.  As long as these people do whatever they please and they are not held responsible, there is no way to deter them.  Erect a Gibbet on the White House Lawn and have hangings for these Villains every Saturday afternoon.  Sell popcorn and cotton candy, and you'll really make out.  Let them know when you commit Treason, you're going to Hang.  I'll bet the pool of these gutless pukes dries up in one big hurry. 

Chupacabra-322's picture

We're completely & absolutely Lawless. Expect no less.

HRClinton's picture

There are no consequences, because Sessions and Thump have NO BALLS.

All talk.  After all, who went from

"Lock her up!" to "They're good people".

Sorry to trouble you with Inconvenient Truths, straight from the horse's... mouth. 

Junk or diss me, if you can't handle the truth. 

Hugs, Hillary 

mary mary's picture

Hillary, however, has balls.  Double-tap.  Even her friends.

junction's picture

The Trump Circus really is the greatest show on Earth.  How long can Trump keep it up, golf weekends at Mar al Lago, tweets galore, filling up the Executive branch with swamp things?  Your guess is as good as mine.  But in the background, the death rates for white middle-aged males is skyrocketing, the bees are continuing to die off, the infrastructive is falling apart and the infant mortality rate in parts of the USA is that of third world countries.  And let's not forget the Black Ops government death squads bumping off people who don't toe the NWO party line, killing people like Dr. Nick Gonzalez and Philip Marshall.   

junction's picture

Take off the rose-colored glasses.  When historians get all the facts years from now, Trump's victory over the satanist Hillary Clinton will be his greatest accomplishment, stopping World War III.  And, Playtime's Over, with a tag like that, are you gay? (Not that there is anything wrong with that).

booboo's picture

15% real unemployment and you can't find 200 loyal staff

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Feb 26, 2017 8:27 PM

Prosecutions.

Ms No's picture

The Zios and NSA probably rigged the entire White House and capital fourty years ago.  They own it.  The whole place is probably a giant undetectable cloud bug or something.  They probably have things stitched into Don's underwear by now. 

Bear's picture

Thrump has an underwear leak?

Joebloinvestor's picture

Well, it is either a member of staff or a lawyer or both.

I would hate to see the Trump administration become obsessed with leaks like Nixon did.

buzzsaw99's picture

whoever it is gots ballz ballz ballz, of steel. [/duke nukem]

Sword of Troy's picture

When they find them, they just need to "ventilate them" like Agent Onatop said in "Goldeneye" when she shot of the Russian satellite station.

BlindMonkey's picture

Barry was handed ever executive power to push these kinds of folks to Gunatanamo to never be heard from again.  Doesn't the God Emperor have the same executive powers?  Leakers?  You will never have to hear from them again.

HRClinton's picture

Yes, according to Bond, Onatop "always did enjoy a good squeeze".

I can appreciate that.