Attorney General tries to prove he’s not “very weak” on leaks.
- By Sharon WeinbergerSharon Weinberger is the executive editor for news at Foreign Policy. Previously, she was the national security editor at The Intercept, where she directed the publication's defense and intelligence coverage. Her most recent book, published in March 2017, is The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World (Knopf, 2017). She was a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard in 2015-2016, a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT in 2008-2009, and she is currently a non-resident global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has also been an International Reporting Project Fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, an Alicia Patterson Fellow, a Carnegie Fellow at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, a Nation Institute Investigative Fellow, and a Carnegie Newhouse Legal Reporting Fellow. She received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and holds an M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Nature, Discover, BBC.com, Slate, Wired, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and the Financial Times, among other publications. She was previously a senior editor at Aviation Week and a co-founding writer and editor for Wired's national security blog, Danger Room.
On the heels of the Washington Post’s release of leaked transcripts of the president’s calls with foreign leaders, Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference last week announcing the Justice Department’s intent to aggressively pursue criminal charges against leakers plaguing the Donald Trump administration. The press conference appeared designed to please the president, who had previously called his attorney general “very weak” on the issue.
On this week’s first episode of The E.R., FP’s executive editor for news Sharon Weinberger is joined by Brad Moss, Trevor Timm, and FP’s Jenna McLaughlin to debate the flood of recent leaks and the administration’s response. The president says leaks “pose a grave threat to our national security,” a claim often made in high-profile leak investigations dating back to the release of the Pentagon Papers. But how often do such leaks pose a legitimate threat to American security? And when, if ever, is the leaking of classified information defensible?
Bradley P. Moss is an attorney specializing in litigation on matters relating to national security, federal employment and security clearance law, and the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act. He is also deputy executive director of the James Madison Project. Follow him on Twitter: @BradMossEsq.
Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a journalist, activist, and lawyer who writes a weekly column for The Guardian on privacy, free speech, and national security. Follow him on Twitter: @trevortimm.
Jenna McLaughlin is FP’s intelligence reporter, focusing on the culture, dynamics, and events happening in the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the other 15 members of the intelligence community. Follow her on Twitter: @JennaMC_Laugh.
Sharon Weinberger is FP’s executive editor for news. She is the author of The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World. Follow her on Twitter: @weinbergersa.
Tune in, now three times a week, to FP’s The E.R.