Published: Sat, August 05, 2017
Entertaiment | By Simon Arnold

Sessions vows review of 'media subpoenas' amid ramped-up leak investigations

Sessions vows review of 'media subpoenas' amid ramped-up leak investigations

The Trump administration can't stop the leaks, so they are going to misuse the Justice Department to attack press freedom. "No government can be effective when its leader cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or to talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders". "We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited, they can not place lives at risk without impunity".

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said these disclosures have resulted in a major threat to United States national security.

"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.

Sessions also announced that the Department of Justice will review its approach to media subpoenas. "For the past several months we have made changes and are seriously ramping up our efforts".

The announcement comes just days President Trump called on Sessions to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which he said last week "are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level".

"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.

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

"I have this message for our friends in the intelligence community".

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

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

On Friday, Sessions appeared alongside Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina.

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.

Coates confirmed he will be working closely with DOJ to prosecute leakers to the fullest extent of the law and said the dissemination of classified information is a betrayal to the country.

"Any disclosure of unauthorised outside of authorised channels is a criminal offense, and we will simply not tolerate the illegal release of classified information", Coats said.

Anger in the White House about leaks has been growing of late.

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

Team Trump has been stung repeatedly by a series of embarrassing leaks, including that first son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner had met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who wanted to dish dirt on Hillary Clinton.

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