At a Friday press conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department will escalate its crackdown on leakers and whistleblowers. He indicated leak investigations have tripled in recent months and will seek to throw sources of journalists in jail.
In addition, Sessions’ comments about ‘reviewing policies affecting media subpoenas’ represent a dangerous escalation of the administration’s war against the press. The Department of Justice is explicitly threatening to haul journalists before grand juries and force them to testify about their confidential sources or face jail time.
Sessions’ suggestion that journalism is a threat to national security is particularly concerning. Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy, informing the public about the government’s activities.
Sessions’ comments seem intended to have a chilling effect on journalism, by making reporters and their sources think twice before publishing information that the government does not like. That will leave all Americans less informed about what the Trump administration is doing behind closed doors.