WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Chris Stewart, a Republican representing Utah’s Second District, introduced legislation Thursday that would create penalties for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, including up to three years in prison.
According to a press release from Stewart’s office, H.R. 3448, the Classified Information Protection Act, simplifies existing law and imposes penalties for unauthorized disclosures of classified information.
“Leaking of classified information harms our nation’s credibility and undermines the brave men and women who protect our national security every day,” Stewart stated. “Leakers are not heroes. Leakers are criminals. I want to be very clear that leakers are not whistleblowers. Current law already outlines how whistleblowers should proceed. My legislation is the first step in providing tools for prosecuting unauthorized disclosure of classified information.”
The press release states that leaks of classified information have been historically rare, but notes that President Donald Trump has “faced 125 leaked stories in 126 days.” The release states that President George W. Bush faced nine “significant national security leaks” while President Barack Obama faced eight and President Trump has faced 62.
Stewart says there is no single law governing such unauthorized disclosures, and instead there is a “patchwork of statutes” and directives to determine how such cases are addressed. Stewart’s bill would create a single statute for all such disclosures.
“To hold leakers accountable, the Classified Information Protection Act allows for leakers to be fined or imprisoned for up to three years,” the release states.
The full text of the bill as provided by Stewart’s office is embedded below: