US Government Leaks Go Back to Ben Franklin

"We have a very long history of leaks in this country"

Donald Trump once seemed to like government leaks, praising WikiLeaks during his campaign and inviting Russia to find State Department-related emails missing from Hillary Clinton's private email server, as NBC News reports.

Now, the president fumes about "un-American" leaks coming from his administration, including ones that led to the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn within a month of Trump taking office.

But leaks have been a major part of American history, starting with Benjamin Franklin passing letters from the colonial governor of Massachusetts to revolutionaries and including the Watergate scandal that took down Richard Nixon.

"We have a very long history of leaks in this country," University of North Carolina law professor Mary-Rose Papandrea said. "It's almost a long-standing tradition."

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