The new focus to find and prosecute leakers in the government by Attorney General Jeff Sessions got a boost from a top official from the Obama administration, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
"The leaks right now are really bad," Johnson said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I've never seen it this bad. There should be a concerted effort to identify and go after leakers."
On Friday, Sessions announced a new focus on leaks by the Justice Department. "The culture of leaking must stop," he said.
A report from Republicans in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee earlier this month estimated that the Trump administration was facing leaks "seven times higher than the same period during the two previous administrations."
The Trump administration has fought a series of embarrassing leaks, sometimes from within the intelligence community, but oftentimes from within the White House itself.
Johnson used his appearance on CBS to speak directly to Sessions, moderating his tough talk on leaks just a bit.
"The one note of caution I'd give the attorney general is what I tell younger lawyers: ‘Bad facts make bad law.'" Johnson said. "So before you decide to take on journalists, reporters, and perhaps subpoena their sources, be aware that the courts are going to get involved, and that has the potential for making bad law in this area."
Sessions and the Justice Department said they are reviewing their methods of investigating media outlets which publish leaked information, and that could include a policy including a more aggressive use of subpoenas against journalists.
"We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited," Sessions said. "They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in our intelligence community, the armed forces, and all law-abiding Americans."