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The White House may be in for a surprise regarding the Special Counsel’s independence

The White House.

(Photo: Chris Christner / Flickr)

Politico is reporting that the White House is rejecting calls for the Office of Special Counsel to investigate alleged national security leaks:

“No,” press secretary Jay Carney said when asked whether the president would agree to have the Office of Special Counsel investigate alleged leaks of classified information regarding U.S. intelligence operations. “The president,” Carney said, “insists that his administration take all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks.”

However, the Office of Special Counsel is an independent agency and its leader, Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner, cannot be removed except by “the President only for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.

In addition, OSC has the following duty:

(a) The Office of Special Counsel shall

(3) receive, review, and, where appropriate, forward to the Attorney General or an agency head under section 1213, disclosures of violations of any law, rule, or regulation, or gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety;

So, you see, if the Special Counsel receives allegations from employees or former employees who have direct information regarding the leaks, the law mandates that the Special Counsel receive and process such disclosures, without interference from the White House.

Here, I’m afraid Jay Carney may be speaking out of turn as it is not for the President to agree or disagree should the OSC receive allegations.


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