Questions about possession, storage and leaks of classified govt. info

I have a few questions about the handling of classified info that I would like to know for a book that I am writing.

Hypo 1

A lawyer is meeting with a client who conveys that he has in his possession classified documents (top secret or secret). The documents relate to some event that has happened 5 years ago. Does the lawyer have some similar duty to break attorney/client privilege and report on the basis of national security as he would if the client told him he was going to kill a person.

Hypo 2
A Navy Seal dies in a car crash unrelated to his service. While serving, he kept some classified (top secret or secret) documents from a mission he was a part of as a memento. While going through his belongings after his death a relative discovers this. What obligations would the relative have to report that he knows about these documents? What could potentially happen to the relative if instead of reporting these to the authorities, he keeps them? What could happen to this relative if he gives them to the media?

Hypo 3
Similar to hypo 2, a military/government official keeps top secret or secret documents as a memento to some operation he worked on in the past. He inadvertently posts some to a directory on his website. A regular citizen discovers these files and downloads them. What obligations does this person have? Can he legally leak them to the media? If he does report them to the government, will he be under any scrutiny? Will the govt. seize his computers because they contain classified info even if he reports them?

As far as I know, so long as the person hasn’t signed the SF 312, a nondisclosure agreement, they aren’t bound by any law that says they have to treat classified material any certain way. With that understanding, under Hypo 1, neither person has any duty to respect the classification for anything other than personal ethical reasons. In 2, same thing except the Navy SEAL almost definitely signed the SF 312, so he’d be disparaging the SEAL’s character to reveal it to the media. In 3, the official is in hot water, for sure. He might to go jail. The citizen, I don’t think so. I’m not sure if they can seize the computers or not. It might be a 1st Amendment issue.

I’m not really sure about all of this, though. I could be wrong.

Even if one hadn’t signed an SF 312, if they were found in posession of classified materials, without proper authorization, they could be charged under existing espionage statutes.

When Wikileaks debuted on the web we were told in writing we were prohibited from visiting the site, even on our own time, at home, using our own computer. It did not matter that an average citizen could do that; as a federal employee whatever information Wikileaks posted was outside of our own legal authority to read the classified information.

I know the OP is trying to insert some realism into a work of fiction, but the realism went out the window when the situation was presented as someone holding on to classified material as a memento in hypotheticals 2 and 3.

The Espionage Act is the key statute here, and it is rather complex. I would suggest googling the term and reading the statute, because it is very specific… Too specific actually to give good answers! Whether something is a crime has a lot to do with the particular type of classified information and one’s intent on what they do with it. Honestly, the boundaries of the law have not fully been tested.

I have no idea about scenario 1, as I only know about attorney client privilege from TV and what’s been posted on this board.