The Trump administration is clearly serious about stopping the leaks that have been flowing from the White House since the president took office.
According to The Independent, in an appearance on “Fox and Friends,” senior counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, stated that the White House might be willing to use lie detector tests to root out the leakers who released sensitive and classified information to the press. She stated that the White House has not ruled out the use of these tests.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates, recently indicated that they were ramping up their efforts to stop the leaks. On Friday, they put the intelligence community on notice that the “Justice Department is open for business.” They just charged four individuals who were found to have given sensitive information to the news media. Conway’s statements indicate that the Trump administration is committed to ensuring that the leaking does not continue.
Polygraph tests have a notoriously low accuracy rate. While the American Polygraph Association states that lie detector tests have a 90% accuracy rate, other experts have said the real accuracy rate is closer to 65%. If these tests are not as accurate as claimed, the Justice Department may have to rely on other measures to weed out leakers. According to Conway, “It’s easier to figure out who’s leaking than the leakers may realize.”
Since January, the White House has experienced numerous leaks to the press. Officials in the executive branch have provided the establishment media with information designed to smear the Trump administration. Just recently, someone leaked the transcripts of the president’s conversations with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to The Washington Post. It appears this was the last straw for the White House.
The transcripts reveal that, in his conversation with the Mexican President, Trump asked Nieto not to tell the press that Mexico would not pay for the wall. He said that both presidents should tell the public they are working on a solution without providing statistics. His conversation with Prime Minister Turnbull was more heated — with Trump stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s phone call was more pleasant than the one he was having with Turnbull. Needless to say, this prompted much hand wringing and faux outrage from the left.
Ned Price, a former official with the National Security Council, told The Hill that the leaking of the transcripts is a serious matter, “This is beyond the pale and will have a chilling effect going forward on the ability of the commander in chief to have candid discussions with his counterparts.”
Of course, Price is correct in his assessment. Other world leaders might be hesitant to speak candidly with President Trump if they believe there is a likelihood that the details of the conversation would be leaked to the press. The individuals responsible for the leaks are not just damaging the president politically, they are hampering the efforts of the administration to deal with foreign leaders effectively. This is why the Attorney General has decided that the Justice Department needs to move swiftly against the leakers.
While the White House may or may not use lie detectors to find leakers, it is clear that they are serious about curbing this dangerous behavior. It is a promising sign. If the Trump administration can successfully stem the flow of leaks from the White House, it will deprive the leftist establishment media of the ammunition they need to discredit them. It will also make foreign leaders more comfortable with having conversations with the president. In both cases, it is a win for the American people.