National Security Leaks

International & National Security Law Practice Group Teleforum

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Leaks of classified or politically sensitive information have become part of the daily news cycle. With them, people like Assange, Snowden, and Manning have become household names.  Some believe leakers to be patriots; others consider them traitors. This morally-charged debate has dominated conversations about leaks, often at the expense of analyzing why leakers leak, the tedious procedures and mechanics of investigating leakers, and what the government considers when deciding how appropriately to appropriately respond once a leaker is identified.

This Teleforum will accordingly focus on the motivations of leakers and countermeasures to prevent leaking and identify a leaker after the fact. Our speakers will also discuss government considerations when deciding whether to pursue criminal charges. In addition to the strictly legal considerations, including what might distinguish lawful whistleblowing from potentially criminal conduct, we will discuss resource constraints, procedural challenges, the extent to which political considerations may come into play as to how certain leaks are countered and addressed, as well as whether the government’s response to insider threats has helped or harmed the quest to prevent leaks.


J. Patrick Rowan, Partner, McGuireWoods LLP

Prof. Mark S. Zaid, Adjunct Faculty, Johns Hopkins University

Moderator: Adam Pearlman, Special Advisor to the International and National Security Law Practice Group


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