That same information was omitted from Sessions's security clearance form, which is known as an SF-86, as first reported Wednesday night by CNN.
"As a United States senator, the attorney general met hundreds — if not thousands — of foreign dignitaries and their staff," said Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior. "In filling out the SF-86 form, the Attorney General's staff consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities."
An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
The security clearance form requires anyone applying for a security clearance to list "any contact" that he or his family had with a foreign government or its representatives over the past seven years.
A Justice official said that in July, a Sessions staffer was helping Sessions fill out the security clearance form because he was being vetted for a possible position in the Trump administration if Trump won the presidency. The staffer asked an FBI employee handling the vetting if he needed to list seven years of contacts that Sessions had with foreign dignitaries and their staff, and he was told no, the Justice official said.
In late November, after the election, the Sessions staffer helped Sessions fill out a new security clearance form, but did not ask the FBI the same question again — and did not list all the contacts.
Another Sessions staffer who went to work at the Justice Department was also told by an FBI investigator that he did not have to list the many meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staffs if it was related to Senate business, the Justice official said.