Lax security practices ‘going on for years’ at Supreme Court before leak: report

Lax security measures have been “going on for years” at the Supreme Court, dating back to well before the May leak of the court’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade, CNN reported Saturday.

Sources familiar with the court’s operations, including former employees, told CNN that the practices have included justices using personal email accounts to share sensitive information instead of secure servers and employees using printers that did not create logs and being able to print sensitive documents outside of the court without any tracking.

Multiple sources told CNN that the practices could have put the court’s security at risk, allowed for the leak last year and limited the court’s investigation to find who was responsible.

“This has been going on for years,” a former court employee said.

One source said justices continued to use private emails partly because they did not move quickly to adopt new technology and court employees did not want to confront them about taking additional security precautions, according to CNN.

The report comes after the court said last month that it was not able to determine who was responsible for leaking the Dobbs draft about a month before the final opinion was publicly released. It concluded the leak was likely not caused by a hack, but the court’s marshal, tasked with finding the source of the leak, could not confirm the culprit despite an extensive investigation.

The court declined to comment to CNN on its report.

Three former court employees told CNN that security surrounding the handling of “burn bags,” which are security bags that contain documents that are meant to be destroyed by fire or shredding, was loose.

One source told the outlet some employees would staple a bag shut when it was set to transfer the documents, but others would be filled to the top and just left near a desk or outside a chamber in the hallway.

Meanwhile, employees with virtual private network access could print out documents from any computer, a former court employee told CNN.

The court’s marshal made seven recommendations for the court to take to avoid another leak, such as limiting access to draft opinions and strengthening training for employees.

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