A Thursday report in Circa cites three officials claiming that FBI General Counsel James A. Baker is the “top suspect” in an investigation into leaks of classified Department of Justice information to the media.
The report claims the investigation is “criminal” in nature. It is unclear exactly what information Baker is suspected of leaking and to which new outlets he did so.
Baker is reportedly a “close ally” of ousted FBI Director James Comey, who, in 2014, appointed him to his current post as the top attorney representing the bureau. According to a June report in Vox, Baker was one of the three officials to whom Comey turned for advice soon after his infamous private audience with President Donald Trump in which he later claimed, through a memo leaked to Columbia Law professor Daniel Richman, that the President asked him “let it go” with regard to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
If Circa’s report proves accurate, it may be the first name to drop in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s rumored extensive probe into leakers in the federal government. Neither the Justice Department nor the FBI responded to Circa’s request for comment on Baker being under investigation, but DOJ Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores did release this statement to journalists Thursday:
We have seen an astonishing increase in the number of leaks of classified national security information in recent months. We agree with [White House Communications Director] Anthony [Scaramucci] that these staggering number of leaks are undermining the ability of our government to function and to protect this country. Like the Attorney General has said, “whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail,” and we will aggressively pursue leak cases wherever they may lead.
Mr. Baker is not related to Reagan era Secretary of State James A. Baker III or his son, attorney James A. Baker IV. Other than a brief stint in private practice, Baker has spent the lion’s share of his legal career at the Department of Justice, having been hired through the prestigious DOJ Honors program in 1990. He has extensive links to the intelligence community, having worked for 11 years at the now-defunct DOJ Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. He also served as an associate deputy attorney general from 2009-2011 under President Barack Obama, dealing with national security and intelligence matters.