Monday, June 14, 2021

DOJ National Security Chief To Step Down Amid Leak Probe

The Chief of the Justice Department’s (DOJ) National Security Division, John Demers, is set to Leave the Department by the End of this Month, early then his Original Date.

Demers, who has Headed the Division since February 2018, will be the Last Senate Cconfirmed Trump Appointee to leave DOJ. While he focused on Combating Chinese Intellectual Property Theft and Espionage, his Departure comes as the Department draws Scorching Criticism for seizing Reporters’ Phone Records as Part of an Investigation into Leaks during the Trump Administration.

In recent days, News Reports have also Revealed that DOJ obtained a Subpoena that required Apple to produce Phone Records belonging to Two Prominent Democratic Members of the House Intelligence Committee.

In a Statement Monday, Attorney General, Merrick Garland, expressed Concern about Prosecutors’ Demands for Lawmakers’ Information, and acknowledged the Sensitive Issues raised by such Probes, into the Legislative Branch.

“There are important questions that must be resolved in connection with an effort by the department to obtain records related to Members of Congress and Congressional staff,” Garland said. “Consistent with our commitment to the rule of law, we must ensure that full weight is accorded to separation-of-powers concerns moving forward.”

Garland also said, Deputy Attorney General, Lisa Monaco, “is already working on surfacing potentially problematic matters deserving high level review,” which he did Not describe further. He said he’s also asked Monaco “to evaluate and strengthen the department’s existing policies and procedures for obtaining records of the Legislative branch.”

Under the Obama Administration, the DOJ dramatically amped up Investigations into Leaks of Classified Material, Securing more Convictions than All other Presidential Administrations combined. Trump’s National Security Team took that work even further; at a Press Conference in August 2017, then-Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced that since the End of the Obama Administration, the Department had Tripled the Number of Leak Probes underway.

In the years following that Press Conference, the Department Secured numerous Convictions and Prison Sentences for People who Shared Classified Information with Reporters. But now its Senior Leadership faces Condemnation for its Scrutiny of Reporters, including at the New York Times and Washington Post.

President Biden, said last month, that it was Wrong for the Department to seize Reporters’ Records. DOJ later announced that it would No Longer do so, despite Longstanding Regulations that create a Process to Approve such Subpoenas in some Cases. The Attorney General must Approve any efforts by DOJ to obtain Journalists’ Records.

Last week, the DOJ’s Internal Watchdog announced the Opening of an Investigation into how DOJ came to Scoop-Up the Lawmakers’ Records.

Garland’s Statement and word of Demers Planned Exit come as the Attorney General is set to meet this afternoon with the Leaders of Three Newsrooms whose Records were seized by DOJ.

Demers has stayed at the Department longer than his other Trump-appointed Colleagues because Senior Officials there repeatedly asked him to Postpone his Departure. This was Demers’ Third stint at DOJ.

Last month, Biden nominated Longtime National Security Lawyer, Matt Olsen, to take over Justice’s National Security Division.

As a Top Justice Department Lawyer during President Obama’s Administration, Olsen oversaw a Major Review of War-on-Terror Detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

He also served as General Counsel to the National Security Agency and as Head of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Olsen is currently the Security Chief for Uber, a Position he has held since 2018.

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