Ses­sions vows to crack­down on clas­si­fied leaks

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions pledged to rein in gov­ern­ment leaks that he said un­der­mine US se­cu­rity, tak­ing an ag­gres­sive pub­lic stand af­ter be­ing called weak on the mat­ter by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

The na­tion’s top law en­force­ment of­fi­cial cited no cur­rent in­ves­ti­ga­tions in which dis­clo­sures of in­for­ma­tion had jeop­ar­dized the coun­try, but said the num­ber of crim­i­nal leak probes had more than tripled in the early months of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Jus­tice De­part­ment of­fi­cials also said they were re­view­ing guide­lines put in place to make it dif­fi­cult for the gov­ern­ment to sub­poena jour­nal­ists about their sources, and would not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity that a re­porter could be pros­e­cuted.

“No one is en­ti­tled to sur­rep­ti­tiously fight to ad­vance their bat­tles in the me­dia by re­veal­ing sen­si­tive gov­ern­ment in­for­ma­tion,” Ses­sions said in an an­nounce­ment that fol­lowed a se­ries of news re­ports this year on the Trump cam­paign and White House that have relied on clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

“No gov­ern­ment can be ef­fec­tive when its lead­ers can­not discuss sen­si­tive mat­ters in con­fi­dence or talk freely in con­fi­dence with for-

No gov­ern­ment can be ef­fec­tive when its lead­ers can­not discuss sen­si­tive mat­ters in con­fi­dence.”

Jeff Ses­sions, US At­tor­ney Gen­eral, about in­creas­ing the num­ber of leak probes

eign lead­ers.”

Me­dia ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tions con­demned the an­nounce­ment, with Bruce Brown, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Re­porters Com­mit­tee for Free­dom of the Press, say­ing the de­ci­sion to re­view ex­ist­ing guide­lines was “deeply trou­bling”.

Mean­while, a White House ad­viser raised the pos­si­bil­ity of lie de­tec­tor tests for the small num­ber of peo­ple in the West Wing and else­where with ac­cess to tran­scripts of Trump’s phone calls. The Wash­ing­ton Post on Thurs­day pub­lished tran­scripts of his con­ver­sa­tions with the lead­ers of Mex­ico and Australia.

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