The Times also reported that prosecutors struggled to gather information that would tie members of the Intelligence Committee or their staff to the leaks, but Mr Barr declined to close the investigation after being sworn in in 2019. The case ended up being closed without charge.

A person close to Mr. Sessions said he was also unaware that the Justice Department had subpoenaed data from members of the House Intelligence Committee and their staff and families. At the time, investigators were trying to identify the source of leaks via the Russia investigation; Mr Sessions was excluded from most Russia-related matters after speaking with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign.

Rod J. Rosenstein, Mr. Sessions’ deputy, who handled matters the Attorney General had withdrawn from, declined to comment.

In this case, the members of the Intelligence Committee did not learn of the full scope of the investigation until May after a gag order against Apple expired and the company notified people whose data had been disclosed according to the subpoenas.

But there were previous signs of activity as well. The FBI questioned Michael Bahar, a former member of the House Intelligence Committee, in the spring of 2020, according to current and former government officials.

A copy of the subpoena sent to Microsoft, verified by The Times, shows that the department was looking for records from April 2016 that may have linked the committee officer to specific accounts, such as information about who is using the account, which ones Devices and How They Are Signing in, from where and when and other subscriber information provided to Microsoft when the account was set up

A Microsoft spokesman confirmed on Friday that they had received the summons, but had also been exposed to a gag order for more than two years, which prevented the company from informing the aide of the seizure.

Katie Benner Reporting contributed.

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