The U.S. Justice Department is on the warpath in their pursuit of leakers in D.C., but one of the top officials in the agency said on Sunday that this heightened focus on policing leaks of classified information is not intended to cause legal jeopardy for journalists.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reinforced the notion that the department’s effort to prosecute leaks is not aimed at the news media. “We’re after the leakers, not the journalists,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We don’t prosecute journalists for doing their jobs.”
Rosenstein did leave the door open for future charges against journalists if they deliberately violate the law. “Generally speaking, reporters who publish information are not committing a crime, but there might be a circumstance in which they do,” he said. “I wouldn’t rule it out if there were a case where the reporter was purposefully violating the law.”
Journalists may have felt jeopardized on Friday when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that his department was tripling the number of investigations into leaks of classified information. This may have been in response to President Trump’s criticism of the high number of leaks coming from the government since he took office.
Rosenstein described the Justice Department’s significant increase of referrals about leaks of classified information. He outlined the department’s plan to pursue charges against “anybody who breaks the law” leaking sensitive information, including members of Congress and top White House officials.
But, for now, journalists don’t have to look over their shoulders. Do you believe this?