President raps FBI over security leaks to the media

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump has taken the unusual step of publicly criticising the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), saying it was failing to stop national security leaks to the media, even from within the agency.

The President’s rebuke, posted on Twitter and Facebook yesterday comes with his administration on the defensive against allegations of improper links to Russia, with several investigations into the matter under way on Capitol Hill and at the FBI.

Accusations against Mr Trump and his cohorts have come from news reports based on unnamed government sources.
“The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time,” Mr Trump tweeted. “They can’t even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW.”

The social media posts from Mr Trump, a voracious consumer of cable news, came as CNN was airing a story on how the FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly deny news reports about alleged communications between Mr Trump’s associates and potential Russian spies during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The President’s rebuke, posted on Twitter and Facebook yesterday, comes with his administration on the defensive against allegations of improper links to Russia.

Separately, the Trump administration has reinstated the use of private prisons for federal inmates, saying commercial operators are needed for the correctional system’s “future needs”.

His new Attorney-General, Mr Jeff Sessions, rescinded the Obama administration’s move made last August to phase out the management of prisons by private companies, which Mr Obama’s Justice Department had said proved to be more dangerous and not cheaper than government-run prisons.

Mr Sessions said, in an order published on Thursday, that the move last year had reversed a longstanding policy at the Federal Bureau of Prisons to have private companies involved, “and impaired the bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system”.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2017, with the headline 'President raps FBI over security leaks to the media'. Print Edition | Subscribe