United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that he will be pursuing prosecutions against individuals who have leaked information that has resulted in a major threat to national security and that the DOJ may begin issuing subpoenas to media outlets that have reported information thought to be leaked. The number of leaks and leak-related investigations has risen sharply since Mr. Trump took office, Mr. Sessions said.His department has received as many criminal referrals for investigations of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information during the first six months of this year as during the three previous years combined, he said.
Civil-liberties and press-advocacy groups reacted with alarm to Mr. Sessions’ announcement, in particular regarding the Justice Department’s effort to revisit rules put in place during the Obama administration to strengthen protections for reporters. Among the steps Mr. Sessions said the government was taking to combat leaks was to direct Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray “to oversee all classified leak investigations and actively monitor the progress of each and every case.”
He has also directed Justice Department prosecutors to prioritize cases involving unauthorized disclosures of classified information, adding thatthe FBI has dedicated more resources to fighting leaks and has created a new counterintelligence unit to manage the cases, Mr. Sessions said.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers