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AG William Barr confirms ‘multiple criminal investigations’ to find Russia probe leakers are under way

'Much of DOJ's work involves non-public, sensitive matters'

Win McNamee/Getty Images

In his first congressional appearance since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on his investigation into Russian election interference, Attorney General William Barr told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that his department is actively looking for officials who made unauthorized leaks to the media.

"We have multiple criminal leak investigations under way," Barr said when asked by former committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) what his team is doing to address leaks to the media from sources within the FBI and Department of Justice throughout the course of the Russia investigation.

Barr, however, did not explain which leaks from the 22-month investigation are currently being investigated.

Grassley's question followed up on a letter he sent to Barr last week asking whether or not the attorney general was looking into "whether DOJ or FBI officials had unauthorized contacts with the media" during the course of the Russia investigation.

"Much of DOJ's work involves non-public, sensitive matters," a Department of Justice outline of the agency's confidentiality and media contacts policy states. "Disseminating non-public, sensitive information about DOJ matters could violate federal laws, employee non-disclosure agreements, and individual privacy rights; put a witness or law enforcement officer in danger; jeopardize an investigation or case; prejudice the rights of a defendant; or unfairly damage the reputation of a person."

"DOJ personnel should presume that non-public, sensitive information obtained in connection with work is protected from disclosure, except as needed to fulfill official duties of DOJ personnel, and as allowed by court order, statutory or regulatory prescription, or case law and rules governing criminal and civil discovery," the DOJ document continues.

In April, House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) sent a letter to Barr outlining eight criminal referrals in relation to the Russian interference investigation, which included "global leaks" among several other allegations.

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