Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday that federal charges have been filed against four individuals for allegedly leaking classified and private information to various news outlets, according to a USA Today report. Sessions said the suspects are accused of divulging classified material including sealed contacts with foreign intelligence officers. President Trump’s administration is conducting the internal investigation to identify and prosecute individuals with access to Classified Information who share that information with media sources. The administration has been embarrassed by a tsunami of leaks allegedly perpetrated by holdovers from the Obama administration and White House insiders.

Leaks compromise national security

Experts say that individuals who leak classified information - including personal conversations between the president foreign leaders - create international chaos, endanger U.S. agents abroad, and compromise national security. The nation’s top cop says the administration has tripled the number of investigations into leaks since January. The names of the four leakers charged were not immediately released. Every administration has its share of leaks and the administration is not likely to stop the practice altogether although the prosecution of a handful of suspects could have a chilling effect on their cohorts with access to classified information and files.

Media uses leaks to go after Administration

With Media Outlets seemingly anxious to bring down the administration, Sessions lamented the “dramatic” increase in unauthorized disclosures that involve classified information.

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Media outlets at odds with the administration have been quick to publish leaked information seen as damaging to the Trump administration. Sessions said no government can be effective when its leaders are unable to talk to adversaries and allies in confidence. White House leakers have distributed actual dialogue from private phone conversations between Trump and world leaders to various media outlets.

Leaks may lead to restrictions on 'unnamed source' stories

Journalists and their “unnamed source” stories may be subject to legal action for not revealing the source of criminal leaks if the trend continues. According to Sessions, the U.S. government is reviewing laws governing journalists that could compel reporters to reveal their sources when classified information or highly sensitive documents are involved. To that end, today’s leakers may ultimately suppress reporting that utilizes unnamed sources.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats who joined Sessions at the press conference put leakers on notice. "Anyone who engages in these criminal acts is betraying the intelligence community and the American people," he said.