The Justice Division is conducting 27 investigations into classified leaks of information, a threefold increase from modern times, according to Attorney Basic Jeff Sessions.
At a residence oversight hearing on Tuesday, Sessions sought to emphasize that his department is taking the leak “epidemic” seriously.
“Users of the committee, we had about nine available investigations of classified leaks in the last three years,” Sessions said. “We’ve 27 investigations available today. We intend to get to underneath of the leaks.”
Leak investigations could lead to criminal prosecutions or different punitive actions.
So far this year, the Justice Division has announced one prosecution of a person for allegedly leaking classified details to a journalist.
But journalists and media legislation experts have presumed that lots of more investigations were occurring behind the scenes. Periods verified that on Tuesday.
He said leaking has reached “epidemic proportions.”
“It cannot be permitted to continue and we will do our best work to make sure that it does not continue,” Sessions said.
His statements are likely to please President Trump, who has repeatedly vented his anger over leaks, and expressed his disappointment in Periods and the Justice Division.
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Back August, a couple of days following the president called Sessions “very weak” when it comes to prosecuting leakers, Sessions and his deputies announced a stepped-up work to pursue leakers. He said “among the things we are doing is certainly reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas.”
The Justice Division has said little about the leak hunt since that time.
But newsroom leaders have been concerned.
Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, told CNN last month that he thought the August announcement was first “an effort to try to intimidate the press from doing its work.”
He said it is possible that some Post reporters are ensnared found in leak investigations right now, but the Post wouldn’t be aware of it unless there was a subpoena, a good search warrant or “an actual leak about the leak investigation.”
Down the road in the hearing on Tuesday, Sessions was first asked if CNN’s reporting about the so-called Trump dossier is the subject of one of the 27 leak investigations. Periods declined to answer.
The first ten a few months of the Trump administration have coincided with a rise in the quantity of leaks from government sources to reporters. Various sources have referred to White Residence infighting and incompetence. However, many of the leaks have been about top-secret work and different classified concerns — triggering the DOJ’s leak investigations.
Earlier this year reporters told CNN, on state of anonymity, that “the leak hunts are getting very aggressive” and “the climate of fear surrounding the Russia investigations is off the charts.”