Disclosure of Grand Jury Matters to the President and Other Officials

Headnotes: 

The Attorney General may disclose grand jury material covered by Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to the President and members of the National Security Council where such disclosure is for the purpose of assisting the Attorney General in her enforcement of federal criminal law. Although under those circumstances such disclosure may be made without prior judicial approval, the names of those receiving the grand jury material must be submitted to the court that impaneled the grand jury in question.

There are also circumstances where the President’s constitutional responsibilities may provide justification for the Attorney General to disclose grand jury matters to the President independent of the provisions of Rule 6(e). Such circumstances might arise, for example, where the Attorney General learns through grand jury proceedings of a grave threat of terrorism, implicating the President’s responsibilities under Article II of the Constitution.

Updated July 9, 2014