USA attorney general says four charged in crackdown on leaks — BBCI

USA attorney general says four charged in crackdown on leaks — BBCI

USA attorney general says four charged in crackdown on leaks — BBCI

As the Trump administration struggles to deal with a flood of leaks, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is ramping up the Justice Department's efforts to find the leakers and prosecute them.

The nation's top law enforcement official cited no current investigations in which disclosures of information had jeopardized the country but said the number of criminal leak probes had dramatically increased in the early months of the Trump administration.

"I want the attorney general to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies", Trump said last week. And Sessions said the department has already charged four people with unlawfully disclosing classified material or concealing their contacts with foreign intelligence officers. "First, I directed my Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein-whose district in Maryland encompassed the NSA headquarters and who has personally led these kinds of investigations- and FBI Director Christopher Wray to oversee all classified leak investigations and actively monitor the progress of each and every case", Sessions said.

According to Coats, these national security breaches do not just originate in the intelligence community but they come from a wide range of sources within the government, including the executive branch and Congress.

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Sessions said he had tripled investigations into leaks under his watch, but did not answer shouted questions regarding whether the department would prosecute journalists. "No government can be effective when its leaders cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or to talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders", he said. "We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited, they can not place lives at risk without impunity".

"They can not 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", he continued.

White House staff members may be subject to lie-detector tests as part of the effort to determine who is leaking the sensitive national security information, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, warned Friday. That includes, they said, policies that require high-level approval before reporters and media companies can be compelled to turn over information.

Some of the leaked stories have proven to be untrue, giving the Trump administration political ammunition in its attacks against the press.

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"Any disclosure of unauthorised outside of authorised channels is a criminal offense, and we will simply not tolerate the illegal release of classified information", Coats said.

Comey later testified that he orchestrated the leaks to ensure that a special investigator was put in charge of the Russian Federation investigation.

In the latest embarrassment for Trump, The Washington Post published transcripts Thursday of his rocky post-inauguration telephone conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

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