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Holder Appoints Chain-of-Command US Attorneys to Investigate White House Leaks

Attorney General Eric Holder

Missing every lesson from Richard Nixon’s behavior during the Watergate investigation, Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two sitting United States Attorneys (one from Maryland, one from DC) to investigate the national security leaks that resulted in disclosures in the Paper of Record of America’s drone and assassination programs overseas.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has appointed the two U.S. attorneys from the District and Maryland to lead investigations into the possible leak of classified information by the White House to reporters, even as President Obama defended his administration against claims that it was complicit.

In a statement issued late Friday, Holder said that he has notified members of Congress that he has assigned the U.S. attorney for the District, Ronald C. Machen Jr., and his counterpart for Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein, to lead criminal investigations into “possible unauthorized” leaks to reporters for several recent news articles and books.

As Karl Rove made very clear during the previous administration, United States Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. It is impossible for them to conduct an investigation that might involve direct White House subordinates or even the President himself. This is a sham investigation from the outset and it’s a shame who stands alone saying so:

Prominent members of Congress, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have pressured the White House to appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter. Late Friday, McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a joint statement that Holder’s move didn’t go far enough.

“This investigation involves some of the most serious breaches of national security in recent memory and any investigation must be done in a manner free and clear of political considerations,” they said. “The recent decision of the Attorney General falls far short of what is needed and is not an adequate substitute for an outside special counsel.”

There needs to be serious bipartisan legislative pushback against Holder’s action. As long as only Gluehorse and his trusty sidekick speak out, this will appear to be partisan sniping. And it’s far from that — these leaks are serious and have gone on for a long time in order to burnish the president’s image as a resolute warrior for peace.

Nothing less than a special prosecutor will do. And Congress is feeling just rebellious enough to pass a new special prosecutor law: after all, the president is a Democrat. Time to bring back that creaky Whitewater artifact!

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