Tuesday April 30, 2019
The clearest of all the laws concerning US intelligence is Section 798, 18 US Code—widely known in the Intelligence Community as “the Comint Statute,” or “the 10 and 10.” Unlike other laws, this is a “simple liability” law. Motivation, context, identity, matter not at all. You violate it, you are guilty and are punished accordingly.
Here it is:
a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, . . . any classified information—On December 9 and 10, 2016, the New York Times and the Washington Post independently reported that anonymous senior intelligence officials had told them that, based on intercepted communications, the intelligence agencies agreed that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee to help Donald Trump win the election.
(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States …or
(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence . . .
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.