Sessions Plotting To Jail Reporters And Force Them To Reveal Sources: Report
As the Trump administration ramps up its efforts to crack down on government leaks, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that he is reviewing policies that allow journalists to protect sources without going to jail. You read that right. Sessions is thinking about jailing reporters in order to force them to reveal their sources.
Speaking to a room full of reporters Friday, Sessions said that news organizations that publish leaked material were irresponsible.
“Reporters cannot place lives at risk with impunity,” Sessions said.
However, the recent wave of leaks has not put lives in danger. Instead, they have embarrassed and exposed President Trump as a liar and unfit for the job he holds.
From now on, he said, “the Department of Justice is open for business” —an odd statement, to be sure, suggesting that it was previously closed.
Current DOJ guidelines dictate that a prosecutor should only issue a subpoena against a reporter only as an absolute last resort, and only when they have exhausted all other possible avenues for obtaining information. Local prosecutors are also told to seek clearance with justice officials at the highest levels before issuing a subpoena against a member of the media.
While Sessions didn’t divulge when those policies will be amended, press freedom organizations are worried, particularly given President Donald Trump’s regular incendiary comments bashing the media.
“Sessions’ suggestion is a dangerous threat to the freedom of American people to know and understands what their leaders are doing, and why,” said David Boardman, chairman of the Reporters Committee.
Bruce Brown, Reporters Committee Executive Director, called the attorney general’s words “deeply troubling,” bristled at the accusation. “Journalists and news organizations have a long history of handling this information in a responsible way,” Brown said in a statement.
Sessions said that the DOJ had “more than tripled” the number of active leak investigations since January, compared to the number of investigations pending at the end of the Obama administration.