Sessions: You're darned right we're going after leakers - and maybe the media

Calvin Saunders
August 5, 2017

For months, President Trump and key Republican lawmakers have been calling on the Justice Department to investigate leaks, asking the department to find out who disclosed to reporters classified information surrounding the US government's ongoing probe of Russian meddling in last year's presidential election. "For the past several months we have made changes and are seriously ramping up our efforts". "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".

Since January, Sessions said the Justice Department has "more than tripled" the number of active leak investigations compared to the number pending at the end of the Obama administration. "No government can be effective when its leader cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or to talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders".

Rosenstein also announced the formation of a designated unit of FBI investigators to probe leaks of classified information to the news media.

"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.

"I have a message for the intelligence community: The Department of Justice is open for business".

"I strongly agree with the president and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks", he said.

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Sessions said there had been "dramatic growth" in the number of unauthorized disclosures since Trump had taken office and that his office had seen an "explosion" of referrals for potential investigations.

Coats added that the leaks don't always originate in the intelligence community, but that some in the Executive Branch and Congress are also responsible-and that all those entrusted with access to classified material must be more vigilant.

Sessions also said that the US Department of Justice is reviewing policies concerning subpoenas for the press about intelligence leaks.

Trump's outbursts against media organizations he derides as "fake news" have led to predictions that his administration will more aggressively try to root out leaks, and the timing of the Justice Department's announcement - one week after the president complained on Twitter that Sessions had been weak on "intel leakers" - raised questions about whether the attorney general was working to quell the anger of the man who appointed him.

"If you improperly disclose classified information, we will find you, we will investigate you and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law", Coats said. Asked in a Rose Garden ceremony if Sessions should stay in his job, Trump said he wanted Sessions to be "much tougher" on leaks. "Leaks to the media are not whistleblowing", Rosenstein said. Graham said. "It's just not fair to President Trump".

Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway told "Fox & Friends" that "it's easier to figure out who's leaking than the leakers may realize".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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