FBI and Trump

The Man Who Gets the Secrets

Leopold at the scene of a crime (Ryan J. Reilly, American Journalism Review)

Jason Leopold, a senior reporter with Bloomberg News, has been getting under the skin of government bureaucracies for decades. His weapon: The Freedom of Information Act, enacted by Congress in the mid-1960s because the feds’ habit of burying embarrassing, or even illegal, acts under layers of official secrecy was spurring a cascade of leaks. Over the years the law has been strengthened—not that it’s stopped the government from continuing its bad behavior.

That’s where Leopold, a multiple prize winning, much admired, relentless digger, comes in. The 55-year-old journalist is a legend for forcing the government to release explosive documents ranging from Hillary Clinton’s secret email server to CIA torture procedures to Donald Trump’s misrouting, should we say, of highly classified documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. For his efforts, the FBI labeled him an “FOIA terrorist,” a moniker he cheerfully welcomes.


May 1st marked the seventh anniversary of his most favorite FOIA triumph, the release of details on a threatening telephone call a person imitating a Mafia thug—all but certainly Trump—made to a lawyer representing investors going after Trump after the failure of his Atlantic City casino. It seemed like a good day to ring Jason up. Listen to our fun and fascinating discussion on the latest SpyTalk podcast, here or on Apple or wherever you like to tune in.

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