Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced in a press conference that four people will be charged over leaks. The Trump Administration has cracked down on leakers after a number of embarrassing material made it into the news. President Trump has often discussed the importance of a crackdown, even chiding Jeff Sesssions to be more hardline.
The suspects are accused of leaking classified material and/or concealed contacts to foreign intelligence officers. The amount of probes into leaks has tripled since January, when President Trump took office. The attorney general said this is a top priority at the Department of Justice:
“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,” he told reporters.
He said there had been a “dramatic” increase in recent months of unauthorised disclosures to the media and even foreign adversaries.
The attorney general also said he wanted to review policies on media subpoenas – compelling journalists to reveal sources – to balance the role of the press with protecting national security.
The move is likely to send a chill through US newsrooms that have been breaking almost daily scoops, which have embarrassed the White House.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats also spoke at the press conference and made a strong warning to others who consider leaking:
“Anyone who engages in these criminal acts is betraying the intelligence community and the American people,” he said.
“We feel the pain of those betrayals intensely and I can assure you that I will do everything in my power as director of national intelligence to hold those people accountable.
“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 should be happy about these prosecutions.