Sessions threatens news media in hunt for leakers

Many of the leaks coming out of the White House are not illegal because they do not involve classified information or directly affect national security, but merely raise matters embarrassing to the administration.
By Jose Jefferies | Aug 09, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Session talked tough to reporters Friday when he announced that the Department of Justice is reviewing rules governing when it can issue subpoenas to news organizations in relation to probes of unauthorized leaks.

"I strongly agree with the president and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country," Sessions said at a news conference, as reported by The New York Times. "We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited. They cannot place lives at risk with impunity."

Sessions also said that the number of leak investigations has tripled since President Trump took office, adding that the Justice Department would pursue criminal charges against anyone leaking classified information.

Prosecutions against journalists for divulging executive branch secrets are rare because of the broad protections afforded them under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But government employees are more vulnerable and subject to administrative discipline for unauthorized leaks.

Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, joined Sessions at the news conference and threatened government employees with administrative discipline and more.

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

Many of the leaks coming out of the White House are not illegal because they do not involve classified information or directly affect national security, but merely raise matters embarrassing to the administration.

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