Sessions vows crackdown on leaks of classified information

05 August, 2017, 00:16 | Author: Pamela Mathis

President Trump has been pushing Sessions to be more aggressive in prosecuting illegal government leaks, which have bedeviled the administration from the start.

Sessions further directed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray to personally oversee classified leak investigations, and ordered US attorneys to prioritize prosecutions of leakers.

Coats said he is convinced the leaks are being perpetrated by members of Congress and the executive branch.

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.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

Sessions said in his remarks that his department has more than tripled the number of active leaks investigations compared to the number pending when President Barack Obama left office, and the number of referrals to the Justice Department for potential investigation of unauthorized disclosures had "exploded".

Mr Sessions was joined by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who issued a stark warning to leakers.

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

His Justice Department announcement comes amid news reports involving the Trump campaign and White House that relied on classified information.

The Department of Justice told Albuquerque and three other cities that they needed to comply with federal immigration enforcement requirements or risk federal law enforcement funding for a new program to fight increased crime. "We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in the intelligence community, the armed forces and all law-abiding Americans".




"I have this message for our friends in the intelligence community: The Justice Department is open for business", Sessions said.

The attorney general said four people are already being prosecuted to allegedly leaking, though he did not provide any details.

Coats warned that the DOJ is prepared to identify individuals "betraying" the American people by illegally sharing classified information and forwarding their information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"Understand this, if you improperly disclose classified information, we will find you, we will investigate you, and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, and you will not be happy with the result".

President Trump has been enraged by the continual leaks coming out of the White House and intelligence community, and complained on Twitter last week that his attorney general was "weak" when it came to going after leakers.

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. Rosenstein said he would meet with media representatives to discuss the ideas next week.

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

Asked if lie detectors might be used, she answered, "Well, they may, they may not".

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

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