Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a stern warning to leakers Friday. He announced the Department of Justice is exploring ways to crackdown on the media for publishing sensitive information.
A stunning report from The Daily Beast reveals the DOJ refused to prosecute lawmakers who leaked classified information, despite recommendation from the FBI.
Daily Beast reports:
The Justice Department currently has nearly three times as many active leak investigations as the number pending at the end of the Obama administration, he added.
Sessions also claimed that some news stories based on leaked classified information put members of the American military at risk. His top deputy, Rod Rosenstein, declined to tell reporters afterward which stories they believe put people in danger.
“We are taking a stand,” Sessions said. “This culture of leaking must stop.”
Ron Hosko, former deputy director of the FBI, said these changes could result in prosecution of members of Congress and Hill staffers. In the past, he said the FBI identified members of Congress who leaked classified information, who the Justice Department then declined to prosecute. Agents were often frustrated by this, Hosko added. Given the attorney general’s announcement, he said, members of Congress and Hill staffers may be more likely to face prosecution.
“Let’s face it: Capitol Hill leaks like a sieve,” Hosko said.
“I think that Sessions is trying to change the calculus,” he added. “He’s issuing a threat to those who leak and he is, perhaps, telling his own investigators and prosecutors to be more aggressive in finding it and in charging it.”
AG Sessions announced Friday a crackdown on leakers which will include a review of the DOJ’s policies of issuing subpoenas to media outlets that publish sensitive information.
“I have this message for our friends in the intelligence community–The Justice Department is open for business, and I have this warning for potential leakers: Don’t do it,” Sessions said.
Via The Hill:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday announced a government-wide crackdown on leakers, which will include a review of the Justice Department’s policies on subpoenas for media outlets that publish sensitive information.
At a press conference with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Sessions announced that the Justice Department, FBI and government intelligence agencies will direct more resources into the investigations of government leaks and would prioritize prosecuting those that pass sensitive information along to the press or foreign officials.
Sessions said his Justice Department has already tripled the number of active leak investigations over the previous administration, and that the FBI would create a new counterintelligence unit to manage the cases.
In addition, Sessions said that after meeting with FBI and intelligence investigators, the Justice Department would review its policies affecting media subpoenas.
“We respect the important role the press plays and we’ll give them respect, but it’s not unlimited,” Sessions said. “They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press’ 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.”
Director of National Intelligence also said at a press conference to leakers, “We will find you.”