No one would quarrel with the Trump administration’s efforts to clamp down on genuine national-security leaks. But his administration has lumped together this traditional law enforcement function with virulent attacks on “leakers” as part of an autocratic campaign to govern in secrecy—and that puts all of us at risk.
Sessions has a point—not all whistleblowing deserves praise. Governments do have legitimate reasons to shield certain information, especially sensitive or classified information, from public view. The Obama administration was doggedly successful, for example, in enforcing the Espionage Act, drawing criticism by some for the number of cases pursued against leakers.
The Trump administration has taken it much further, however, declaring war on reporting of White House goings-on. Donald Trump has made attacking leakers his signature move in response to revelations of questionable conduct in the White House.
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