A Tuesday report from the Washington Post cited anonymous officials saying Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce multiple investigations of criminal leakers within the federal government.
“Officials said Sessions is due to announce in coming days a number of criminal leak investigations based on news accounts of sensitive intelligence information,” the Post reported.
Sessions, in President Donald Trump’s own chosen adjective, has been “beleaguered” during the past week by repeated criticism from the White House. Among the president’s stated concerns was Sessions’s supposed unwillingness to aggressively pursue the potential criminal leakers who have plagued the administration since its inception.
“I want the Attorney General to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level,” Trump told reporters Tuesday, reiterating this line of attack at a Rose Garden press conference.
If the Post report is accurate, it may indicate a response to these insinuations from Sessions and his team at the Department of Justice. If so, it would mirror a similar announcement of details of the crackdown on Justice Department grants to so-called “sanctuary cities” that came hours after the latest round of public criticism from the president. The details of the reported leak investigations announcement are, as of yet, unclear, and it is possible whatever investigations are to be publicly announced were, in fact, already underway as, for example, was the sanctuary cities initiative.
Leaks of sensitive information to mainstream media outlets, including the Washington Post, have proven a constant drain on administration efficacy and morale. In several instances, there have been strong indications the information leaked has been classified and its dispersal a crime. Despite this, no large-scale investigation into intelligence community leaking has been publicly announced, raising the ire of some Republicans, in addition to the president.
An exception is the Reality Winner case, in which the peculiarly named 25-year-old intelligence contractor and Air Force veteran was allegedly caught red-handed slipping classified information concerning President Trump from the Georgia facility in which she lived to The Intercept website.
As the president’s attacks on Sessions piled up Tuesday, many conservative voices began to rally around the attorney general. The coming announcement on leak investigations, should it be forthcoming, may prove an important step in addressing the president’s concerns and ensuring the ongoing tension between the two men does not stifle progress on the America First agenda underway at the Department of Justice.