Patriot Tonight with Melanie Collette 8/5/17
RE: Leak crackdown – Jeff Sessions
Is there a culture of leaking today as was recently denounced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Most would have to admit there has been an unprecedented level of leaking with respect to the Russia-related investigation. Indeed, former FBI Director James Comey basically admitted that he leaked a confidential memorandum from the FBI files of a conversation he had with President Donald Trump. Rather than prompt an outcry, his leak was a success and apparently contributed to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Another example arises with the tragic bombing at a concert in Manchester, England on May 22, 2017. According to British authorities, in the early hours of that investigation U.S. law enforcement leaked the identity of who the British law enforcement officers thought to be the principal suspect – something that is not done in a law enforcement investigation unless suspects are at large and the public’s help is needed to locate them. If indeed U.S. law enforcement apparently leaked that information, the British authorities very properly were very concerned.
Most people who disclose confidential or classified material to the press do so because they think the U.S. government is doing something that the public ought to know about. But it’s not a government employee’s decision to make. If one has an issue with what the government’s doing, the proper approach is going within channels rather than going public with classified information or other confidential information.
It’s wrong and it’s often illegal. The law does not provide that if government employees disagree with government or don’t like their bosses, they can take the law into their own hands and ignore oaths.
Certainly, reporters who use leaks are not considered prosecutable today. And they will rarely join in any condemnations of leaks. Instead the folks who write about leaks are journalists who often hope they are going to be the next one who gets the leak.
But their hopes do not necessarily define what is best for our government and our nation.