DOJ Opens Criminal Probe Into Alleged Disclosure of Classified Information in Bolton’s Book: Report

The Department of Justice (DOJ) reportedly opened a criminal investigation whether former National Security Advisor John Bolton included classified information in his recently published book. The New York Times reported on Sept. 15 that Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe sent a referral to the DOJ regarding the matter, and officials at the department then convened a grand jury. Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” details his 17 months as national security adviser and shared several unflattering accounts of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.  The Times reports that the grand jury also sent a subpoena to Simon & Schuster, the book’s publisher, for communication records.  Although Boltons submitted his book for a pre-publication review by the National Security Council to ensure it did not include classified information, he faced a drawn-out legal process and lawsuits aimed at blocking its publication.  In the days leading up to the book’s publication, the DOJ filed a civil suit to prevent the book’s release as Attorney General William Barr asserted that there was still classified information that had not been removed. However, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth rejected the request to block the book’s publication. He argued, “While Bolton’s unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns, the government has not established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy.” Lamberth did not let Bolton off the hook as he said, “Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability.” Additionally, Lamberth said he rejected the government’s request because “with hundreds of thousands of copies around the globe —many in newsrooms — the damage is done.” Bolton has maintained that his book did not contain classified information.

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