The leak Thursday of two conversations between President Trump and two heads of states is very serious and very dangerous. There is no hyperbole here. The leak was likely meant to embarrass the President though we can’t know that for certain until the leakers are found.
It was extremely serious though some downplay it. They shouldn’t. Take this issue for example: what foreign leader will speak to Trump or any president of the United States or his staff after this?
Washington Examiner reported that Jeff Sessions said he has already charged four people and strongly agrees with the President about leaks.
In the aftermath of the latest leak, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats held a press conference Friday, making very strong statements and significant warnings to the leakers. Sessions also alerted the press to limits the media will face because they do not have “unlimited” roles.
Specifically, Sessions told the press, “At their suggestion [FBI], one of the things we are doing is reviewing policies for affecting media subpoenas. We respect the important role that the press plays, and we’ll give them respect, but it is not unlimited. They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press’s role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in the intelligence community, the Armed Forces, and all law-abiding Americans.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned leakers will not be permitted and those that endanger lives and national security will be prosecuted.
The attorney general has added a new unit to address leakers and to step up the investigation.
Rogue anonymous sources with security clearances will not be allowed to “sell out our country”, he said.
“Prevention” is what is required, he stated, adding that “once information is leaked”, the “damage is done”.
Dan Coats, the Director of National Security, joined the attorney general Friday in assuring Americans that their offices will seek out and prosecute leakers to the fullest extent of the law. He and Sessions used the word “criminal” repeatedly. They are ramping up their scrutiny of leaks and they will prioritize the investigations.
There are more leaks in the first six months of this administration than all three years of the prior administration combined.
Director Coats said that leaks have resulted in a “major threat to our national security.”
“In the last several years, the U.S. Intelligence community has experienced some of the worst compromises of classified information and our nation’s history. Those disclosures have been disseminated to both the media and to our foreign adversaries.”
“Let me be absolutely clear this morning. These disclosures have resulted in a major threat to our national security. They endangered the men and women of the intelligence community, the armed services, and those who serve overseas.”
“They give our adversaries knowledge of our activities. They impede our ability to share information with our allies. There is also a real cost in dollars to compensate for blown programs and most importantly, as I’ve previously noted, these unauthorized disclosures endanger the safety and security of Americans across the country.”
Coats said, “If you leak classified information, we will find you, we will investigate you, we will prosecute you.”
“I condemn in the strongest terms the staggering numbers of leaks”, Sessions said.
“Leaks are incredibly damaging to our intelligence mission and capabilities,” the attorney general said.
He warned, “Don’t do it.”
“This nation must end this culture of leaks.”