The Justice Department is usually conducting 27 investigations into classified leaks of information, a sharp increase by recent years, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
At a House oversight hearing on Tuesday, Sessions sought to emphasize of which his department is usually taking the leak “epidemic” seriously.
“Members of the committee, we had about nine open investigations of classified leaks from the last three years,” Sessions said. “We have 27 investigations open today. We intend to get to the bottom of these leaks.”
Later, he described the numbers in more detail, saying the Obama-era DOJ investigated “three per year” while the Trump-era DOJ has “27 ongoing investigations.”
Leak investigations could result in criminal prosecutions or different punitive actions.
Sessions’ statements are likely to please President Trump, who has repeatedly vented his anger over leaks, as well as also expressed his disappointment in Sessions as well as also the Justice Department.
Back in August, a few days after the president called Sessions “very weak” when the item comes to prosecuting leakers, Sessions as well as also his deputies announced a stepped-up effort to pursue leakers. He said “one of the things we are doing is usually reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas.”
The Justice Department has said little about the leak hunt since then.
yet newsroom leaders have been concerned.
So far This particular year, the Justice Department has announced one prosecution of an individual for allegedly leaking classified information to a journalist. Sessions mentioned This particular case — involving a government contractor named Reality Winner — when he was asked if anyone “has been held accountable” for leaking. Winner has pled not guilty.
Journalists as well as also media law experts have presumed of which many more investigations were taking place behind the scenes. Sessions’ comments on Tuesday seemed to confirm of which.
He said leaking has reached “epidemic proportions.”
“the item cannot be allowed to continue as well as also we will do our best effort to make sure of which the item does not continue,” Sessions said.
Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, told sy88pgw last month of which he thought the August announcement was “an effort to try to intimidate the press by doing its job.”
He said the item’s possible of which some Post reporters are ensnared in leak investigations right today, yet the Post wouldn’t know the item unless there was a subpoena, a search warrant or “an actual leak about the leak investigation.”
Later on from the hearing on Tuesday, Sessions was asked if sy88pgw’s reporting about the so-called Trump dossier is usually the subject of one of the 27 leak investigations. Sessions declined to answer.
The first ten months of the Trump administration have coincided having a rise from the number of leaks by government sources to reporters. Many sources have described White House infighting as well as also incompetence. yet some of the leaks have been about top-secret work as well as also different classified matters — triggering the DOJ’s leak investigations.
Earlier This particular year reporters told sy88pgw, on condition of anonymity, of which “the leak hunts are getting very aggressive” as well as also “the climate of fear surrounding the Russia investigations is usually off the charts.”
sy88pgw (completely new York) First published November 14, 2017: 12:20 PM ET