As expected, Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference on Friday to address the leaks which have been plaguing the Trump administration for the past seven months.
Sessions began his speech by stressing that he fully agreed with President Trump and “condemned in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks” which constantly undermine the ability of the government to protect the nation.
To illustrate his point, the attorney general referred to a number of private conversations between Mr. Trump and foreign dignitaries which were leaked to the press this week and warned that no government could function effectively in the face of such a constant threat.
“No government can be effective when its leaders cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders,” he said.
Sessions then condemned the dramatic surge in “unauthorized disclosures of national security information” to both the media and to some of the country’s foreign adversaries and emphasized that the Department of Justice had been inundated with referrals for investigating classified leaks.
“In the first six months of this administration, the Department of Justice has already received nearly as many criminal referrals involving unauthorized disclosures of classified information than we received in the previous three years combined,” he highlighted.
Last month, Scoop reported that a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee study titled State Secrets: How an Avalanche of Media Leaks is Harming National Security had found that, on average, there had been one potentially damaging leak a day since President Trump entered the White House.
In addition, the attorney general announced that the National Insider Threat Task Force (NITTF), which was set up in October 2011, had taken a number of measures to ensure that “the government’s first priority to protect this country and her citizens [was] not undermined by the very people who have been entrusted to protect it.”
He also warned that anyone who may be contemplating leaking sensitive information would be investigated and prosecuted before adding that four individuals had already been charged with “unlawfully disclosing classified material or with concealing contact with federal officers.”
Sessions also confirmed that he had asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and newly appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray to oversee all leak investigations and to monitor the progress of every case.
The attorney general stressed that he had instructed the Department of Justice’s National Security Division (NSD) and all attorneys to “prioritize cases involving unauthorized disclosures.”
He also warned the press that the First Amendment did not give them immunity from prosecution if they disclosed sensitive information to the public.
Finally, Sessions wished to reassure the American people.
“We will investigate and seek to bring criminals to justice. We will not allow rogue, anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country. […] Leakers will be made accountable,” he vowed.Share