Jeff Sessions just escalated Trump's war with the media

Jeff Sessions just escalated Trump's war with the media

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced four people have been charged over leaks as he launched a crackdown on disclosure of classified material.

But since the inauguration, Trump has frequently raged about unauthorized disclosures and said that the Justice Department should be investigating the leaks, not allegations that his campaign coordinated with Russian Federation. "No government can be effective when its leaders cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or to talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders".

The leaks are being made to both the media and, in some cases, even unauthorised disclosures to the foreign adversaries, Sessions said. In response to the leaks, he suggested the department will move to expand the use media subpoenas. "The Department of Justice is open for business and I have, this morning, this warning: Don't do it".

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

Sessions said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had beefed up staff devoted to investigating leaks, and that those caught in his crackdown would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

There have been a torrent of government leaks since Trump took office, leading to accusations from the right that rogue "deep state" actors are conducting a silent "coup" against the president.

A number of leaks are suspected to be coming from Obama administration holdovers in the intelligence community, prompting Sessions to call on leading officials to work with DOJ to stop them.

The Justice Department earlier this year arrested one person they have accused of leaking classified information - Reality Winner, an Atlanta woman and federal contractor.

In June, U.S. intelligence agencies formally asked the Department of Justice to investigate Russia-related "leaks" - referring as many as six leaks for investigation, according to sources familiar with the matter at the time.

Sessions was accompanied by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina.

"We will find out, we will investigate you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law and you will not be happy with the result", he said.

"No one is entitled to surreptitiously fight their battles in the media by revealing sensitive government information", he said. That includes, they said, policies that require high-level approval before reporters and media companies can be compelled to turn over information. "This is really incensing the people who are here to serve and that begins with the president and the vice president, our cabinet [and] our chiefs of staff", said Conway.

President Donald Trump has publicly chided Sessions for the leaks emerging from the intelligence community during his administration, saying recently that it was part of the reason he was disappointed in his attorney general.

Coates noted DNI is strengthening the security clearence application process is order to prevent potential leakers from gaining access to classified information in the first place.



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