Sessions also denounced high-profile leaks about Trump's conversations with foreign leaders.
He also warned that the federal government was "taking a stand" against the "culture of leaking" and took a moment during his prepared remarks to speak directly to "would-be leakers".
Sessions said there had been "dramatic growth" in the number of unauthorized disclosures since Trump had taken office and that his office had seen an "explosion" of referrals for potential investigations.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a warning Friday to members of the media, promising a review of the subpoena policy regarding leaks of classified information and characterizing the publication of such materials as an action that places "lives at risk".
Sessions on Friday said that "no government can be effective when its leaders cannot discuss freely with foreign leaders".
Sessions said that, in a six-month period, the Justice Department had received nearly as many criminal referrals involving disclosures of classified information as it had in the past three years combined.
"We respect the important role that the press plays and will give them respect, but it is not unlimited", Sessions said.
"They can not place lives at risk with impunity", he said. "We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in the intelligence community, the armed forces and all law-abiding Americans".
"I've listened to our career investigators, FBI agents and others, and of prosecutors about how to most successfully investigate and prosecute these matters", Sessions said.
The Justice Department also abandoned a yearslong effort to force a New York Times journalist to reveal his source in the trial of a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was later found guilty of disclosing classified information.
Coats warned that the DOJ is prepared to identify individuals "betraying" the American people by illegally sharing classified information and forwarding their information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"If you improperly disclose classified information, we will find you, we will investigate you and we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law", Coats said.
Meanwhile, a White House adviser raised the possibility of lie detector tests for the small number of people in the West Wing and elsewhere with access to transcripts of President Donald Trump's phone calls.
"Any disclosure outside of authorized channels is a criminal offense and we will simply not tolerate the illegal release of classified information", Coats said. "Leaks to the media are not whistleblowing", Rosenstein said.
"President Trump made the right move in sticking with him as the Department's priorities of rule of law, public safety, and securing our borders are such a welcome change from the recent past", he said.
Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway told "Fox & Friends" that "it's easier to figure out who's leaking than the leakers may realize".