Skip to main content

tv
Jeff Sessions
Archive
  Attorney General Says Culture of Leaking Must Stop  CSPAN  August 4, 2017 11:03am-11:19am EDT

11:03 am
i've called several times. i enjoy both sides of the argument. guest, i just want to make one comment. remember jim jones and jonestown? the people that drank the -- a.g. sessions: good morning. i want to thank director coates for being here. dan coats is one of the finest people i have ever known in public service and i have tremendous respect for his integrity and professionalism. the national insider threat task force that was established in 2011. important role to play and one we are taking seriously. progress has been made and we intend to reach new levels of effectiveness. first, let me say that i
11:04 am
strongly agree with the president and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country. just yesterday, we so reports in the media about conversations the president had with foreign leaders. no one is entitled to surreptitiously fight to advance battles in the media by revealing sensitive government information. no government can be effective when it's leaders cannot discuss sensitive matters in confidence or talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders. we here today to talk about the dramatic growth in the number of unauthorized disclosures of classified information -- national security information in the past several months. this includes leaks to the media and, in some cases, even unauthorized disclosures to foreign adversaries. referrals for investigations of
11:05 am
classified leaks to the department of justice from our intelligence agencies have exploded. in the first six months of this administration, the department of justice has already received nearly as many criminal referrals involving unauthorized disclosures of classified information as we received in the previous three years combined. classified information by definition is information that, if disclosed, would do harm to national security. as director coates will discuss, leaks are incredibly damaging to our intelligence mission and capabilities. simply put, these leaks hurt our country. all of us in government can do better. the first requirement is for discipline within all our agents tose of the government prevent these leaks. every agency and congress has to
11:06 am
do better. we are taking a stand. this culture of leaking must stop. furthering this goal today, we are here to announce some steps being taken and underway by the national insider threat task force to ensure the government's first priority to protect this country and her citizens is not undermined by the very people who have been entrusted to protect it. while the department of justice does not discuss ongoing investigations or confirm specific matters, it is important for the american people and those who might be thinking about leaking classified or sensitive information to know that criminals who would illegally use their access to our most sensitive information to endanger our national security investigated being and will be prosecuted. since january, the department is more than tripled the number of
11:07 am
active league investigations compared to the number pending at the end of the last administration. we have already charged four people with unlawfully disclosing classified material or with concealing contacts with federal officers. soon after i arrived in february, i initiated a review of our leak investigations and prosecutions. i reviewed how these cases were being referred and handled and was concerned with what i found. too few referrals,too few investigations with insufficient resources dedicated to them. i concluded the unprecedented rise in leaks required additional support for more investigations and to speed up existing investigations. our system relies on the intelligence community making a determination of whether classified material has been improperly handled or released
11:08 am
and then sending referrals to us that the department of justice. that means it is final for the intelligence community to know that the department of justice is committed to investigating and problem -- prosecuting these referrals. when fewer investigations take place, criminal leaks can take place more often and a culture of leaking can take cold. i have this message for our friends in the intelligence community. the department of justice is open for business and i have come of this morning, for would be leakers, don't do it. for the past several months, we have already made changes and are seriously ramping up our efforts. first, i directed my deputy, attorney general rob rosenstein, whose district in maryland encompasses nsa headquarters and who has personally led investigations of this kind, and the investigative fbi director christopher wray, to oversee all
11:09 am
classified leak investigations, actively monitor the progress of each and every case. secondly, i directed a national security division of the department of justice and our u.s. attorneys to prioritize cases involving unauthorized disclosures. the department will not hesitate to bring lawful and appropriate criminal charges against those who would abuse the public trust. third, we tripled the number of actively investigations. in response, the fbi has increased resources devoted to leak cases and created a new counterintelligence unit to manage these cases. simultaneously, this department is reviewing policies that impact leak investigations and i've listened to our career investigators, fbi agents, and others, and our prosecutors about how to most successfully investigate and prosecute these
11:10 am
matters. of ther suggestion, one things we are doing is reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas. we respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited. they cannot place lives at risk with impunity. we must balance the press's 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. here is what i want to tell every american today. this nation must end this culture of leaks. we will investigate and seek to bring criminals to justice. we will not allow rogue, anonymous sources with security clearances to sellout our country. these cases to investigate and prosecute are never easy, but cases will be made and leakers will be held accountable.
quote
11:11 am
all of us in government and in every agency in congress and congress must do better. the first requirement is personal discipline, education, and repetition within our departments and agencies will make a difference. prevention is what is required. is toogation of a leak late, really. the damage is done. thank you all and i would now recognize director of national intelligence dan coats. dir. coats: good morning, mr. attorney general, thank you very much for your leadership and inviting me to join you here today and working with you on the task force. you and i have served together in the united states senate, we served together now in the trump administration, and today we stand together to address an issue which both of us strongly believe needs to be addressed using the authorities of our respective agencies. over the past few months, i've had the privilege of working with the dedicated men and women
11:12 am
of the intelligence community. i have seen firsthand the works that they do tirelessly and without fanfare to protect our country. i stand here today as their leader to express our grave concern that unauthorized disclosures of classified material and damaging our mission and jeopardizing the safety and security of the american public. in the last several years, the u.s. intelligence community has experienced some of the worst compromises of classified information in our nation's history. those disclosures have been disseminated to both the media and to our foreign adversaries. let me be absolutely clear this morning. these disclosures have resulted in a major threat to our national security every a day in danger the intelligence community, the armed services, and those who serve overseas. they give our adversaries
11:13 am
knowledge of our activities. they impede our ability to share information with our allies. there is also a real cost in dollars to compensate for blown programs. most importantly, as i've previously noted, these unauthorized disclosures endanger the safety and security of americans across the country. i would like to point out, however, that these national security breaches do not just originate in the intelligence community. they come from a wide range of sources within the government, including the executive branch and the congress. access someone, who has to classified material, has legitimate concerns, there are multiple ways for them to put forward a complaint. there are avenues for whistleblowers and protections for those individuals to report concerns without fear of reprisal. there are other legal options
11:14 am
available outside of those channels, including notifying the congressional intelligence committees or even their own congressional representative or senator in congress. having said this, it is important to stress that any disclosure of unauthorized excuse me, any disclosure outside of authorized channels is a criminal offense and we will simply not tolerated -- tolerate the illegal release of classified information. the national counterintelligence and security center, which is part of my office, is currently carrying out a review of the policies that are in place, foring agencies' processes investigating and prosecuting cases. in addition, we are studying security clearance procedures to look for any inconsistencies in the processes for issuing security clearances to all
11:15 am
employees, including government officials, contractors, etc. found,nsistencies are and csc -- ncsc will make recommendations to adjust the security clearance process. we will also continue to ensure the federal workforce is clear of the importance of respecting classifications and is fully aware of whistleblower options. we will work with our counterparts in the executive branch and the congress to address this issue. let me conclude by saying that we are prepared to take all necessary steps to identify individuals who illegally expose and disclose classified information. secondly, forward information about their deeds to the fbi for full investigation.
11:16 am
we worked closely with the department of justice to support prosecution of any person who makes an unauthorized disclosure of classified material. fourth, the director of national intelligence, i'm empowered to take administrative action to deal with individuals who break the law. let me be clear, i will not hesitate to exercise those authorities. anyone who engages in these criminal acts is betraying the intelligence community and the american people. we feel the pain of those betrayals intensely. i can assure you that i will do everything in my power as the director of national intelligence to hold these individuals accountable. for those out there who may be listening or watching these ladlecements, or who will
11:17 am
-- later learn about what has been said here this morning, understand this, if you improperly disclose classified information, we will find you, we willinvestigate you, prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law and you will not be happy with the results. >> later today, we will hear more from members of the trunk cabinet at 7:20 p.m. eastern. vice president mike pence and housing and urban development secretary ben carson will be speaking at the national conservative student conference this evening on c-span2. i was hoping to get
11:18 am
transportation in 2001 because my whole background is actually in trade and transportation. i was a transportation banker for number of years for city clerk and bank of america. i had worked for transportation companies, so my whole background was in transportation. it is nice to be able to return to a field in which i had worked previously and it is nice to be able to be back in a department that i'm very familiar. >> watch our interview with elaine chao, secretary of transportation in the trump administration. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. >> the unemployment rate last month was 4.3%. that is down from 4.4%. the bureau of labor statistics released the numbers this morning.