Homeland Security threatens staffers with criminal charges for leaking — with hint something big is coming
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speaks to CBS (screen grab)

The Department of Homeland Security threatened criminal charges for employees who leak information, BuzzFeed News reported Thursday.

Using Orwellian-language, DHS said because they "serve the public" they should not leak information to the public.

“As federal employees, we serve the public, and our loyalties must prioritize that purpose above all others. A violation of the public trust might arise, for example, if DHS personnel disclose nonpublic information or use it for their own personal benefit, such as for monetary gain, or for the private gain of others,” the letter read.

"[S]uch unauthorized use or disclosure would be considered a misuse of position and, depending on the nature of the information disclosed, could expose the DHS employee to personal criminal, civil, or administrative consequences,” the letter warned.

Leaked documents have been documenting significant wrongdoing at the department.

In March, NBC San Diego reported on leaked documents showing authorities tracking journalists and immigration advocates. The documents reportedly implicated Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations and the San Diego sector of the FBI.

In January, a leaked 2017 memo may have shown that DNS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen committed perjury.

The latest memo may have also suggested there was a significant new leak, former DHS senior adviser Scott Shuchart told BuzzFeed.

"This sounds like there is some leak that is different in kind and that they are trying to make sure it is the last of its kind,” Shuchart explained.