Sessions vows crackdown on 'culture of leaks' in Washington

by Dwayne Torres August 5, 2017, 0:14
Sessions vows crackdown on 'culture of leaks' in Washington

After repeated urging from President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Friday a campaign to crack down on leakers in the intelligence community, issuing a stark warning to sources who would leak to reporters.

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

Sessions said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had beefed up staff devoted to investigating leaks, and that those caught in his crackdown would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

"We are taking a stand", he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed. Sessions claimed that the administration has seen as many leaks of classified information in the last six months as there were in the previous three years combined and described leakers as rogue criminals "sell [ing] out the country".

"One of the things we are doing is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas", Sessions stated.

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.

Baltimore officials say police won't enforce immigration laws despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions' threat to withhold federal funding for crime fighting unless they agree to cooperate.

"We are prepared to take all necessary steps to one identify individuals who illegally expose and disclose classified information", said Coats, who argued they have put American operatives, troops, and sensitive programs at risk.

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"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. "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".

Director of national intelligence Dan Coats also spoke at the presser, and warned people within the intel community to use the "several" legitimate channels for raising concerns, either with leadership or with Congress.

The Justice Department has already charged four people with either leaking classified information or concealing contacts with foreign intelligence officers, he revealed.

Hours later, the Wall Street Journal reported a grand jury had been convened in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation.

The flow of leaks has frustrated the White House, which has been dealing with the cloud of investigation since before the president's inauguration. "Leaks to the media are not whistleblowing", Rosenstein said.

Only this week transcripts of rancorous calls between President Trump and foreign leaders surfaced in the Washington Post.

Lie detectors may or may not be used, she continued. Graham said. "It's just not fair to President Trump".

Some of the leaked stories have proven to be untrue, giving the Trump administration political ammunition in its attacks against the press.

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