The Times also reported that prosecutors had struggled to develop information linking Intelligence Committee members or their aides to the leaks, but Barr, after being sworn in in 2019, opposed closing the investigation. The case was finally closed without charges.
A person close to Mr. Sessions said he was also unaware that the Justice Department had cited data belonging to members of the House Intelligence Committee, their staff and family members. At the time, investigators were trying to identify the source of the leaks about the Russia investigation; Sessions was excluded from most Russian-related matters after speaking with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign.
Rod J. Rosenstein, Sessions’s deputy, who handled matters the attorney general recused, declined to comment.
In this case, Intelligence Committee affiliates learned of the full scope of the scrutiny only in May, after a gag order on Apple expired and the company notified individuals whose data had been released pursuant to the subpoenas.
But there were also earlier signs of activity. The FBI questioned Michael Bahar, a former House Intelligence Committee staff member, in the spring of 2020, according to current and former government officials.
A copy of the subpoena from Microsoft reviewed by The Times shows that the department was looking for records dating back to April 2016 that could have linked the committee official to particular accounts, such as information on who was using the account, with what devices, how were they. login, from where and when, and other subscriber information provided to Microsoft when the account was set up.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed on Friday that it had received the subpoena, but had also been subject to a gag order for more than two years that prevented the company from informing the assistant about the seizure.
Katie benner contributed reports.