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Sessions Announces Crackdown Against Leakers, Considers Action Against Press

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday that steps are being taken by the Department of Justice to combat the “culture of leaking” that has gripped the federal government since President Donald Trump took office.

Sessions revealed that leaks of classified national security information to the media, and in some cases to foreign adversaries, have “exploded” in the first six months of the Trump administration.

“In the first six months of this administration, DOJ has already received nearly as many criminal referrals involving unauthorized disclosures of classified information as we received in the last three years combined,” Sessions said at a press conference.

“We are taking a stand. This culture of leaking must stop,” Sessions said.

“Soon after I arrived here in February, I initiated a review of our leak investigations and prosecutions,” Sessions said. “I reviewed how these cases were being referred and handled and was concerned with what we found — too few referrals, too few investigations with insufficient resources dedicated to them.”

Sessions announced three changes he has made to the system to combat leaks.

First, Sessions has directed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray to “oversee all classified leak investigations and actively monitor the progress of each and every case.”

Second, Sessions has directed the National Security Division and U.S. Attorneys to “prioritize cases involving unauthorized disclosures.”

Third, Sessions announced the DOJ has “tripled the number of active leak investigations.” In response to the new influx of cases, the FBI has created a new counterintelligence unit to manage the cases, he said.

Sessions also said he was also actively looking into reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas at the recommendation of career investigators and prosecutors experienced in going after leakers.

“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. We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in our intelligence community, the armed forces, and all law-abiding Americans,” Sessions said.

Sessions said the steps he’s taken are necessary to “end the culture of leaks.”