Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday said he could not make a “blanket commitment” to not put reporters in jail “for doing their jobs.”
During testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) asked Sessions if he could pledge to not place “reporters in jail for doing their jobs.”
“Well, I don’t know that I can make a blanket commitment to that effect. But I will say this, we have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point,” Sessions replied during the Wednesday hearing.
“But we have matters that involve the most serious national security issues that put our country at risk,” he said, “and we will utilize the authorities that we have legally and constitutionally if we have to.”
“We always try to find an alternative way, as you probably know, Sen. Klobuchar, to directly confronting media persons, but that’s not a total blanket protection,” Sessions said.
Klobuchar’s questions come after President Trump tweeted last week that network licenses should be challenged in response to an NBC News report about his administration. Major news networks do not have licenses themselves, but their local affiliates do.
The Hill notes:
The Justice Department in August announced a crackdown on government leakers that would concentrate on prosecuting individuals who disclose sensitive information to foreign officials or members of the press.
“We respect the important role the press plays and we’ll give them respect, but it’s not unlimited,” Sessions said at the time.
“They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press’ 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.”
Klobuchar: Will you commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs?
Sessions: I cant make a blanket commitment to that effect pic.twitter.com/SVcepFzXNI
— Rogue CPI (@RogueCPI) October 18, 2017