Jeff Sessions Wants to Stop Leaks by Targeting Journalists

05 August, 2017, 00:14 | Author: Courtney Perry

Speaking at the Department of Justice a day after transcripts of President Donald Trump's classified conversations with foreign leaders appeared in The Washington Post, Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemned the disclosures as damaging to national security. "We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in our intelligence community, the armed forces, and all law-abiding Americans". "First, I directed my Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein-whose district in Maryland encompassed the NSA headquarters and who has personally led these kinds of investigations- and FBI Director Christopher Wray to oversee all classified leak investigations and actively monitor the progress of each and every case", Sessions said. "The FBI has increased resources devoted to leak cases and created a new counterintelligence unit to manage these cases", he said.

"At their suggestion, one of the things we are doing is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas", he added.

"I've listened to our career investigators, FBI agents and others, and of prosecutors about how to most successfully investigate and prosecute these matters", Sessions said.

Sessions said the "staggering number of leaks" had undermined the government's ability to protect the country.

At Friday's news conference, Mr Sessions said no government could be effective when its leaders could not talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders.

"No one is entitled to surreptitiously fight to advance battles in the media by revealing sensitive government information", Sessions said after referencing the call logs released Thursday.

The Justice Department has experienced an "explosion" in the number of referrals, or requests for probes, this year from intelligence agencies over the leak of classified information, prompting the attorney general to consider whether to loosen regulations on when it can subpoena media organizations.


"Anyone who engages in these criminal acts is betraying the intelligence community and the American people", Coats said.

According to Coats, these national security breaches do not just originate in the intelligence community but they come from a wide range of sources within the government, including the executive branch and Congress.

"We will find out, we will investigate you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law and you will not be happy with the result", he said. Rosenstein said he would meet with media representatives to discuss the ideas next week.

"President Trump made the right move in sticking with him as the Department's priorities of rule of law, public safety, and securing our borders are such a welcome change from the recent past", he said.

Sessions' announcement comes 10 days after President Trump publicly criticized his attorney general as "weak" and "beleaguered" for not aggressively cracking down on leaks.

Yet Trump's anger about the leaks of sensitive and classified information was ignited even before his inauguration.

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