Holder appoints two DoJ attorneys to investigate leaks
Resisting calls to appoint a special prosecutor, Attorney General Eric Holder has assigned two Justice Department attorneys to investigate national security leaks that may have originated in the White House and are widely seen as bolstering the president's campaign for re-election.
Two U.S. attorneys are taking over separate FBI investigations into leaks of national security information that critics have accused the White House of orchestrating to improve President Barack Obama's re-election chances, a claim Obama calls "offensive" and "wrong."
Recent news articles contained details of U.S. involvement in a partially successful computer virus attack on Iran's nuclear program and on the selection of targets for counterterrorism assassination plots. The leaked information generally painted Obama as a decisive and hands-on commander in chief.
"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong," Obama told reporters at a news conference Friday. "And people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office."
Obama promised investigations into the source of leaks about U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran and drone strikes on suspected terrorists.
Lawmakers have pointed to recent stories by The New York Times, The Associated Press and other news organizations that contain previously secret information and cite anonymous U.S. officials.
The strongest claims came Tuesday from Obama's 2008 election opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
"They're intentionally leaking information to enhance President Obama's image as a tough guy for the elections," McCain said after taking to the Senate floor to list some of the alleged breaches. "That is unconscionable."
Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, is one of the attorneys assigned by Holder to the leak case. In a 2010 profile in the Washington Post, Machen referred to Obama as a "legend" at Harvard and admitted that he was a great admirer of Obama and donated money to the president's 2004 senate campaign.
I'm sure we can expect Mr. Machen to do a thorough job...of looking the other way.
Also, I would not expect to have this investigation wind up until, oh, about the second week in November. Funny how those things happen, eh?
Holder should have appointed a special prosecutor. During the Bush years, Dems would call for the appointment of a SP at the drop of a hat. Now all of a sudden - not such a good idea?
If the leaks did originate (or can be traced back) to the White House, Obama can always claim it was some over-zealous staffer. But leakers generally know what they're doing which is why they are rarely caught.
Such will probably be the case in this instance.