Attorney General Sessions Warns Leakers: You Will Be Prosecuted
4 August 2017
EIRNS—In a press conference today at the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced several measures already underway, intended to clamp down on those who leak classified information—including from the media. Joined by Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats, and National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina, Sessions firmly stated that the large number of leaks of classified material that have proliferated this year alone, represents a danger to the country’s national security and will be dealt with severely.
Sessions reported that just in the first six months of 2017, the DOJ has received nearly as many criminal referrals involving unauthorized disclosures of classified information as received in the last three years combined. He said that prosecutors have charged four people with unauthorized disclosure of classified information or concealing contacts with foreign officers.
Sputnik quoted DNI Coats as saying that leaks of classified information "do not just originate in the intelligence community," but "come from a wide range of sources within the government, including the Executive branch and including the Congress." He warned that he would not hesitate to use his authority to "deal with" people within the intelligence community who leak classified information. Moreover, he reported, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center is reviewing current policies as well as security clearance procedures.
The measures Sessions announced include directing Rosenstein and new FBI Director Christopher Wray to oversee all classified leak investigations "and actively monitor the progress of each and every case." Cases involving unauthorized disclosers will be prioritized by the National Security Division and U.S. Attorneys. The FBI has increased resources dedicated to leak cases and also created a new counterintelligence unit to handle such cases.
Sessions also noted that his office is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas.
"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."
As a final message, Sessions warned that
"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 any longer."
No representative of the FBI attended the press conference.