Trump administration goes on the attack against leaks
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, taking up an issue that has infuriated President Donald Trump, went on the attack against leaks on Friday, and said that the government was reviewing policies on compelling journalists to reveal sources, APA reports quoting Reuters.
"One of the things we are doing is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas," Sessions told reporters as he announced administration efforts to battle what he called a "staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country."
"We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited," he said.
A media subpoena is a writ compelling a journalist to testify or produce evidence, with a penalty for failure to do so. The fact the administration is reviewing its policy leaves open the possibility of sentencing journalists for not disclosing their sources.
Trump has repeatedly voiced anger over a steady stream of leaks to the media about him and his administration since he took office in January. Some have been related to probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, others have concerned infighting in the White House.
Speaking to reporters after the media event with Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the department was just starting to review the policy on media subpoenas and could not say yet how it might be changed. But he did not rule out the possibility of threatening journalists with jail time.
Under U.S. law, a government attorney must seek the attorney general's approval before issuing a subpoena to attempt to force a member of the news media to divulge information to authorities.
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