Two U.S. attorneys have been tasked with finding out if there's any truth to rumours the White House leaked classified information to help the President's national security reputation. In a statement released late Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the appointment of Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, to lead already launched FBI probes of possibly leaked information from the White House to reporters.
In his statement announcing the appointments, Eric Holder assured that Machen and Rosenstein, "are fully authorized to prosecute criminal violations discovered as a result of their investigations and matters related to those violations," and that they'll, "follow all appropriate investigative leads within the executive and legislative branches of government." The Washington Post reports prosecutors from the Justice Department’s National Security Division will also be assisting the investigation.
Which stories the investigations are focusing on is unclear. The Justice Department won't comment on which leaks they're investigating because it would indicate which stories contain accurate classified information. It's suspected the investigations are focusing on the recent Obama's "kill list" and CIA cyber attacks stories published in The New York Times.
Those hoping for the appointment of a "special counsel" to investigate the leaks might be disappointed. John McCain was hoping for a special counsel investigation. He released a joint statement with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina saying the appointment of Machen and Rosenstein wasn't 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."
Earlier Friday, President Obama responded to the allegations the White House leaked the information, saying, "The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It's wrong." Obama also said that, if they can find who leaked the information, "they will suffer consequences."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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