Former counterintelligence agent talks about Russia leaks

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A former counter terrorism agent with the U.S. Department of State says it is likely around 100 federal employees will be under investigation for unauthorized leaks that could be a threat to America’s national security.

Fred Burton is Chief Security Director Officer for Austin-based Stratfor, an international strategic forecasting firm. Burton spent 14 years as a counterintelligence agent with the State Department. He was charged with investigating leaks.

“Having worked these cases in the past, I doubt very seriously that it was actually someone in the meeting that was the leaker, based upon the attendees. But the actual ‘persons in the know’ surrounding what was going to be said at that meeting is going to be large. And that’s going to include the White House staff, the National Security Council, the State Department, elements within the Department of Defense,” Burton said.

“I would bet the National Security Council has requested from the Department of Justice and Unauthorized Disclosure Investigation, a leak investigation and literally trying to reconstruct that, having worked on leak investigations in the past, it’s difficult to do. If you have six people that were in that meeting, at times you’re going to get six different answers as to what took place,” Burton said.

It’s possible someone who is not a fan of President Donald Trump could have leaked something to the Washington Post.

“I think that’s certainly plausible. I think if I were doing the leak investigation I would be going into that with an open mind thinking ‘what was the motive behind the link to the Washington Post,’” Burton said. “We don’t know if this was done orally or in writing. Presumably it was done orally. But the devil will really be in the details.”

Burton said if a leaker is discovered there will be huge consequences.

“I wouldn’t want to be the leaker. I think this Department of Justice is going to make an example out of the first leaker that they catch. They’re really going to get the book thrown at them.”

Burton says leaks are nothing new inside the Washington Beltway. He says in the world of social media leaks today are “amplified” and begins to “feed on itself.”

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