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Trump's Safety Board Nominee: Employees "Just Can't Resist" Sharing Workplace Secrets

In 2010, James Sullivan Jr. also warned that "leaks are going to happen."

Posted on May 18, 2017, at 5:50 p.m. ET

Yuri Gripas / Reuters

President Trump's nominee to serve on a workplace safety board has provided some blunt analysis of and advice regarding this past week's White House difficulties.

He did so back in 2010.

"Employees just can’t resist talking about their latest developments, even though they’re not for public disclosure," James J. Sullivan Jr., said of employees sharing confidential information.

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed News confirmed the Washington Post's reporting that Trump had divulged highly classified information to Russian officials in a May 10 White House meeting.

Sullivan is Trump's nominee to be a member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Back in September 2010, Sullivan — then a lawyer with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney — participated in a roundtable discussion about labor and employment law, which was published in December of that year.

Warning of online postings that could cause headaches, Sullivan said employers "really have to monitor their employees' online activities."

On May 12, Trump tweeted that "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" — a reference to the conversations the president had with the former FBI director, who he fired on May 9.

Although the Trump White House has lashed out at the media for reporting based on leaks — including, per a New York Times report, to Comey — Sullivan had noted back in 2010, "[E]ven if you train employees and you train management, leaks are going to happen."

On Tuesday, Trump formally sent Sullivan's nomination to the Senate.

Sullivan's full 2010 comment:

I was going to talk about trade secrets because it seems like this is a recent phenomenon. But nine years ago when I was in-house at Comcast, I remember getting a call about an Internet forum for cable technicians. A Comcast cable technician had posted information about a product that Comcast had not yet rolled out, and Comcast was very upset about it because it was essentially a secret. This happens to companies all the time. They really have to monitor their employees’ online activities, especially where confidential information is concerned, because even if you train employees and you train management, leaks are going to happen. Employees just can’t resist talking about their latest developments, even though they’re not for public disclosure.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.