In a terse warning issued late Thursday evening, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sought to brace American readers from unsourced articles (leaks) originating anywhere from anyone.
“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories from anonymous “officials,” particularly when they do not identify the country – let alone the branch or agency of government…”
The statement dovetails with Donald Trump’s flurry of tweets condemning “fake news” though the DOJ official advised skepticism rather than outright dismissal of such articles.
Rosenstein’s statement (below) was emailed to a media list and posted on Twitter by Politico‘s Eric Geller among others. The release quickly gained attention with the NY Times breaking the story in its June 16 issue.
The use of unnamed sources is a long-standing practice in the journalism profession. Such anonymity protects whistle blowers and others who are unable or unwilling to reveal their identities. Deep Throat was one such anonymous source; an informant whose revelations about the Watergate scandal were funneled to Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. This person was revealed years later as a top official within the FBI. His revelations helped terminate the presidency of Richard Nixon.
Rosenstein oversees Special Counsel Bob Mueller, who is investigating possible Trump-Russia connections and obstruction of justice. His effort recently enlarged to include Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s advisor and son-in-law.
The alert from Rosenstein also points toward leaks abroad with foreign intelligence agencies and other entities possibly involved. Social media abounds with rumors of compromising audio and video of the president. The Christopher Steele *dossier was the first to report that such tapes existed. The collection of memos by Steele is in the FBI’s possession.
Rosenstein’s statement is below.