Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this Friday at a press conference that the Department of Justice is doubling efforts to crack down on Leaks, "The Washington Post reports. According to him, the current administration has received as many referrals involving unauthorized information disclosures as the department has received in the last three years combined.

Among the measures announced by the Attorney General, there is the creation of a counterintelligence sector within the FBI to investigate leaking cases.

Two prominent officials will lead the efforts, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and newly sworn in FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.

“This culture of leaking must stop”

The tough statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a display of the width of his efforts to crack down on leaks. The Washington Post reports that Sessions said that all the government agencies, as well as Congress, must do better to avoid such practice.

The Attorney General warned that the disclosure of classified information, that is in his definition information that when disclosed harms the national security, is damaging “our our intelligence mission and capabilities.”

That is the reason why he is demanding more “discipline” not only in government but also in Congress.

“We are taking a stand: this culture of leaking must stop,” he announced.

Complaints from the press

While some conservatives hailed the new posture of the Justice Department, journalists and free press organizations expressed fear over the possibility to stymie leaks. On several occasions, these leaks have revealed important issues that otherwise would be kept unknown by the broad public.

Two recent notorious cases of leaks cited by The Washington Post were those involving phone calls made by President Trump to the Mexican President and Australian Prime Minister.

To The Mexican Enrique Peña Nieto, the call’s transcripts revealed that President Trump pleaded with him for Mexico to pay for the controversial border wall. On the other, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull lost his temper and hung up the phone.

The Department of Justice is also studying the possibility of ending the release of subpoenas to the press, which is “strongly opposed” by Free Press Groups such as The Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, still according to The Washington Post.

Although it seems the life of journalists will be tougher given the new posture of the Department of Justice over leaks, it is yet to be seen if the investigations will be directed first to those who publish leaked information. Today, journalists are investigated only after all involved public servants were scrutinized.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein left the issue in doubt. “We don’t know yet what if any changes we want to make”, he declared to The Washington Post.

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