The report by Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Aaron Jordan offers suggestions to “protect against the unauthorized release of non-public information” and “take appropriate administrative actions when an unauthorized release occurs.”
The report specifically references information published by The Washington Post containing budget details that were not set for release until days later, and Politico, which came from internal documents, according to The Washington Post’s Wednesday story.
According to the Office of Inspector General report, there would be obstacles in pressing forward with criminal prosecution.
“Although the aforementioned incidents are examples of possible unauthorized releases of nonpublic information by Department employees, unlike classified information, personally identifiable information, or proprietary information, we were unable to find specific protections in criminal law for the information released in these incidents. Thus, it is unlikely that the OIG could obtain a Federal prosecution for general releases of non-public information,” the report said.
It also provided “suggested actions” for the Education Department to try to curb such incidents. They included points like clearly marking documents that are for internal purposes only and training employees on how to handle certain information.
The Washington Post also noted Wednesday that the report has a footnote describing “whistleblower rights and protections” and saying any new policies should observe those protections.