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DOJ arrests senior Treasury employee for allegedly leaking sensitive information to the media

The Justice Department has arrested a Treasury employee for leaking sensitive information to the media. A October 20, 2013 photo shows the US Treasury on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Department of Justice has filed a criminal complaint against a Treasury Department employee accused of leaking sensitive information related to the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Here's what happened

According to a news release from the Department of Justice, a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN, had been supplying sensitive information from suspicious activity reports, or SARs, to a reporter.

Some of this information dealt with the investigation into Manafort. Others mentioned Manafort's business partner Rick Gates and accused Russian spy Maria Butina. The reporter was not identified.

The named employee, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, was described as a "senior-level" employee at FinCEN.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said in the news release:

In her position, Edwards was entrusted with sensitive government information.  As we allege here today, Edwards violated that trust when she made several unauthorized disclosures to the media.  Today's action demonstrates that those who fail to protect the integrity of government information will be rightfully held accountable for their behavior.

What did the Treasury employee do?

According to the official complaint, Edwards "unlawfully disclosed numerous SARs to a reporter ('Reporter-1'), the substance of which were published over the course of about 12 articles by a news organization for which Reporter-1 wrote ('News Organization-1').  The illegally disclosed SARs pertained to, among other things, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, the Russian Embassy, Maria Butina, and Prevezon Alexander."

She saved these SARs " along with thousands of other files containing sensitive government information — to a flash drive provided to her by FinCEN.  She transmitted the SARs to Reporter-1 by means that included taking photographs of them and texting the photographs to Reporter-1 over an encrypted application."

Edwards was in possession "of a flash drive appearing to be the flash drive on which she saved the unlawfully disclosed SARs, and a cellphone containing numerous communications over an encrypted application in which she transmitted SARs and other sensitive government information to Reporter-1" at the time of her arrest.

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