Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday that the Justice Department (DOJ) has charged four criminal leakers and tripled the number of investigations. President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly called for prosecutions of these leaks, which has assaulted the Trump Administration at unprecedented numbers.
“While the Department of Justice does not discuss ongoing investigations or confirm specific matters, it is important for the American people—and for those who might be thinking about leaking sensitive or classified information—to know that criminals who would illegally use their access to our most sensitive information to endanger our national security are, in fact, being investigated and prosecuted,” Attorney General Sessions said.
He revealed that since January, DOJ has more than tripled the number of active leak investigations compared to the number pending at the end of the Obama Administration.
“And we have already charged four people with unlawfully disclosing classified material or with concealing contacts with foreign intelligence officers,” he said.
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported the leaked transcripts of President Trump’s conversations with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Even Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the Ranking Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the leak was outrageous and is a dire threat to national security.
“No one is entitled to surreptitiously fight their battles in the media by revealing sensitive government information,” Attorney General Sessions said. “No government can be effective when its leaders cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or to talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders.”
Circa News reported that FBI General Counsel James A. Baker is the “top suspect” in one of these investigation into leaks. He is suspected of leaking of classified information that originated from the Justice Department to the media in order to damage the President.
“We are taking a stand. This culture of leaking must stop,” he said. “So, today, I have this message for the intelligence community: The Department of Justice is open for business. And I have this warning for would-be leakers: Don’t do it.”
The attorney general said the Justice Department is also reviewing policies regarding media subpoenas, adding that while the government much respect the role that the press plays, it is not unlimited. The Senate Homeland Security Committee released a 24-page report titled “State Secrets: How and Avalanche of Media Leaks is Harming National Security.” It estimated the Trump Administration has had about one leak per day.
The committee concluded that the Trump Administration faced an “alarming” amount of media leaks that posed a threat to national security. People’s Pundit Daily has estimated that the White House has seen roughly 7 times the number of leaks than the previous two administrations.
“They cannot place lives at risk with impunity,” he said. 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.”
In June, the New York Times outed the name of a clandestine operator, a spy, working for the Central Intelligence Officer (CIA) in Iran. The media also revealed the origin nation of intelligence shared with Russia. They did the latter to hurt President Trump, but inevitably put the operators embedded with the Islamic State (ISIS) at risk.
The examples are plentiful, including information shared with U.S. intelligence officials dealing with details of the Manchester bomber. Again, it was meant to embarrass President Trump while he was aboard.
“Finally, here is what I want to tell every American today: This nation must end the culture of leaks. We will investigate and seek to bring criminals to justice,” Attorney General Sessions concluded. “We will not allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country any longer.”
“These cases are never easy. But cases will be made, and leakers will be held accountable.”