DOJ warns the media could be targeted in crackdown on leaks

For months, President Trump and key Republican lawmakers have been calling on the Justice Department to investigate leaks, asking the department to find out who disclosed to reporters classified information surrounding the USA government's ongoing probe of Russian meddling in last year's presidential election. "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.

Sessions on Friday said that "no government can be effective when its leaders cannot discuss freely with foreign leaders". "The FBI has increased resources devoted to leak cases and created a new counterintelligence unit to manage these cases", he said. "Simultaneously, the Department is reviewing policies that impact leak investigations", he continued.

In a series of angry tweets last month, Trump railed against Sessions for being "VERY weak" on prosecuting leakers.

"I have a message for the intelligence community: The Department of Justice is open for business".

At a press conference Friday, Sessions said that the DOJ is taking a look at its policies for subpoenaing reporters during investigations into intelligence leaks.

"One of the things we are doing is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas", Sessions stated.

The Justice Department under President Obama pursued former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked sensitive information about USA surveillance practices to The Washington Post and The Guardian. In recent weeks Trump specifically urged Sessions-a target of the President's ire for recusing himself on matters related to Russian meddling in the 2016 election-to boost leak prosecutions.

"No one is entitled to surreptitiously fight to advance battles in the media by revealing sensitive government information", Sessions said after referencing the call logs released Thursday.

The announcement comes just days President Trump called on Sessions to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which he said last week "are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level".

"They endanger the men and women of the intelligence community, the armed services, and those who serve overseas", he said.

"For those out there who may be listening or watching, or who will later learn what has been said here this morning, understand this: If you improperly disclose classified information, we will find you, we will investigate you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law, and you will not be happy with the result", Coats concluded.

Mr Sessions said the Trump administration is determined to tackle "the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country".

Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway told "Fox & Friends" that "it's easier to figure out who's leaking than the leakers may realize".


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