Sessions: You're darned right we're going after leakers - and maybe the media

President Donald Trump listens to the reading of the citation before awarding the Medal of Honor to former U.S. Army medic and Vietnam War veteran James Mc Cloughan during a July 31 ceremony at the White House

Sessions: You're darned right we're going after leakers - and maybe the media

"Referrals for investigations of classified leaks to the Department of Justice from our intelligence agencies have exploded", Sessions said.

"We are taking a stand", he said.

"I have this message for would-be leakers", Sessions said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday, "don't do it". "First, I directed my Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein-whose district in Maryland encompassed the NSA headquarters and who has personally led these kinds of investigations- and FBI Director Christopher Wray to oversee all classified leak investigations and actively monitor the progress of each and every case", Sessions said.

Sessions also announced that the Department of Justice will review its approach to media subpoenas. "No government can be effective when its leaders cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or to talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders".

Sessions said that, in a six-month period, the Justice Department had received nearly as many criminal referrals involving disclosures of classified information as it had in the past three years combined. "We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited, they can not place lives at risk without impunity". They can not place lives at risk with impunity.

Meanwhile, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said that leaks of classified information come from outside the Intelligence Community as well as from within, and include material shared by the executive branch and the US Congress.

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"We must balance the press 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", he said.

The attorney general said four people are already being prosecuted to allegedly leaking, though he did not provide any details.

In a series of angry tweets last month, Trump railed against Sessions for being "VERY weak" on prosecuting leakers.

"Anyone who engages in these criminal acts is betraying the intelligence community and the American people", Coats said.

"If you improperly disclose classified information, we will find you, we will investigate you and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law", Coats said.

Anger in the White House about leaks has been growing of late.

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Hours later, the Wall Street Journal reported a grand jury had been convened in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russian Federation.

The Washington Post has published embarrassing transcripts of conversations the President held with the leaders of Mexico and Australia back in January.

Lie detectors may or may not be used, she continued.

"President Trump made the right move in sticking with him as the Department's priorities of rule of law, public safety, and securing our borders are such a welcome change from the recent past", he said.

Some of the leaked stories have proven to be untrue, giving the Trump administration political ammunition in its attacks against the press.

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