US attorney general Jeff Sessions has warned that the Trump administration is "taking a stand" against unauthorised leaks of classified information, describing it as a matter of national security.
Highlighting the increase in unauthorised disclosures to the media and even foreign adversaries in a news conference on Friday (4 August) the attorney general said the Trump administration is determined to take action to prevent public disclosures of sensitive information.
"I strongly agree with the president and condemn in the strongest terms the staggering number of leaks undermining the ability of our government to protect this country," he told reporters.
He confirmed that four people have been charged over leaks which he claimed had the potential to undermine national security. He said the suspects were accused of divulging classified material or concealed contacts with foreign intelligence officers.
Sessions revealed that the number of investigations into leaks has tripled since Donald Trump took office in January causing embarrassment to The White House.
The warning comes after the Washington Post published transcripts of conversations the President held with the leaders of Mexico and Australia in January.
According to the transcripts, Mr Trump told President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico to stop publicly saying he would not pay for the border wall between the two countries.
The newspaper also reported details of a phone call which Mr Trump held with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 28 January, in which the President described their conversation as "ridiculous".
According to Sky News Sessions added that no government could be effective when its leaders could not talk freely in confidence with foreign leaders.
The attorney general also said he would be reviewing current policies on media subpoenas which force journalists to reveal their sources. Anyone found to be leaking confidential material could even face jail time he said.
"We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited," he explained.
President Donald Trump has previously criticised leading publications, accusing them of publishing 'fake news."
He also accused Mr Sessions of being "very weak" on leaks. In a tweet issued on Tuesday morning (25 July), Trump said: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!"
The relationship between the two has turned increasingly sour since Trump began attacking the attorney general (AG) on Twitter.