U.S. jurisdiction and classified information

If a person were to leak classified information outside the United States, would it be legal? If not, how can the United States claim a crime was committed if its laws were not in effect in the place of the leak?

(What’s got me thinking is the State Department’s eternal claim that the local laws, not US law, applies to persons abroad. Nonetheless, the same government places restrictions on the acts of persons outside its borders.)

I guess you’d not get busted for the actual leaking, but for exporting the secrets from the US in the first place.

If local laws supersede US laws…explain Operation Just Cause for me please.

Not that I’m an expert in spying matters, but leaking classified information usually involves violating a contract. And usually, deep down in the contract, there is a passage about jurisdiction. The jurisdiction could even be implied.

I once successfully dragged an ex-partner before a US court for contract violation. The actual violation took place in Europe, but the contract was written & signed in the US. Hence, it was violated in the US.

Of course, the first thing a defending lawyer does is to question jurisdiction. In our case, the defending lawyer didn’t even think of moving the case to Europe, he wanted it in his and the defendant’s hoome town. Motion was denied.