Idaho politics: Crapo, Risch decry 'avalanche' of executive leaks

Already facing a a contempt of Congress complaint in the House over the Fast and Furious operation, embattled Attorney General Eric Holder is getting a push from Republican senators, including Idaho's Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.

Twenty-five GOP senators have urged Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate a "stunning" series of executive leaks.

"We are not talking about a single, isolated instance of a leak; rather, we are looking at “an avalanche of leaks” on national security matters," the senators say. "On a matter of this seriousness, there is clear precedent to appoint an outside special counsel when there is the potential for a conflict of interest, the specter of political influence, or other extraordinary circumstances. As this is clearly the case here, we request that you appoint an outside special counsel immediately."

The GOP senators cite President Barack Obama's and Vice President Joe Biden's past support of independent counsel during the George W. Bush presidency.

The letter was circulated by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.. Other signees, are Sens. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee; John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, Wyoming.; Roy Blunt, Missouri; John Boozman, Arkansas; Richard Burr, North Carolina; Saxby Chambliss, Georgia; Susan Collins, Maine; John Cornyn, Texas; Jim DeMint, South Carolina; Charles Grassley, Iowa; John Hoeven, North Dakota; Mike Johanns, Nebraska; Mark Kirk, Illinois; John McCain, Arizona; Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, Kansas; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Rand Paul, Kentucky; Rob Portman, Ohio; Marco Rubio, Florida; Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania; David Vitter, Louisiana; and Roger Wicker, Mississippi.

Here is the text of the letter, in full:

The numerous national security leaks reportedly originating out of the Executive Branch in recent months have been stunning. If true, they reveal details of some of our Nation’s most highly classified and sensitive military and intelligence matters, thereby risking our national security, as well as the lives of American citizens and our allies. If there were ever a case requiring an outside special counsel with bipartisan acceptance and widespread public trust, this is it.

Press reports indicate that there could be many sources to the leaks within the Administration. In fact, in Joe Becker and Scott Shane’s New York Times story, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will” the reporters state they interviewed, “three dozen of [Obama’s] current and former advisers.” Tom Ricks’ recent New York Times review of David Sanger’s Confront and Conceal mentions that “Mr. Sanger clearly has enjoyed great access to senior White House officials, most notably to Thomas Donilon, the national security adviser. Mr. Donilon, in effect, is the hero of the book, as well as the commenter of record on events.”

You have an important role as a member of the President’s national security team, and no Administration should be expected to investigate itself impartially on such a grave and sensitive matter in the midst of an election. Therefore, your recent announcement that two U.S. Attorneys would lead criminal investigations into the instances of unauthorized disclosures of classified information does not ensure a full and thorough investigation free of influence. The U.S. Attorneys are under your personal supervision. An outside special counsel, with the appropriate independence and authority, would ensure that the investigation remains untainted by even the appearance of a politics or undue influence.

Our request for a special counsel is in keeping with the precedent of asking for a neutral investigation when there is either a possible conflict of interest or extraordinary circumstances. In 2005, when President Obama was a sitting senator, he requested a special counsel to investigate the Jack Abramoff scandal, saying “FBI officials have said the Abramoff investigation ‘involves systemic corruption within the highest levels of government.’ Such an assertion indicates extraordinary circumstances and it is in the public interest that you act under your existing statutory authority to appoint a special counsel.” [1]

In fact, in the Valerie Plame matter, then-Senator Obama went beyond the call for a special counsel, seeking a Congressional investigation, arguing in a letter:

“[t]he United States Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the executive branch, whether a law has been broken or not. It is time for Congress to fulfill that constitutional responsibility in this matter by initiating a thorough investigation. We recognize that a criminal investigation is underway and that a special prosecutor continues to present testimony before a grand jury. These actions in no way preclude Congress responsibility to provide oversight. We urge you to exercise your authority as Congressional leaders by requesting the appropriate committees to begin oversight hearings and an investigation immediately.”

In 2007, then-Senator Biden called for a special counsel to investigate the destruction of the CIA enhanced interrogation tapes, stating that the “easiest, straightest thing to do is to take it out of the political realm, appoint a special prosecutor and let them decide, and . . . call it where it is. Is there a criminal violation? If there is, proceed. If not, don't.”

In 2003, then-Senator Biden joined a letter calling for an outside special counsel in the Valerie Plame investigation, concluding that, "Public confidence in the integrity of this investigation would be substantially bolstered by the appointment of a special counsel.” Then-Senator Biden maintained that even if that case were being handled by professional career prosecutors, the integrity of the inquiry might be called into question if individuals with a vested interest in protecting the White House were still involved in any matter related to the investigation.

If the bar for an outside special counsel were met in the cases of Valerie Plame and Jack Abramoff, it is far exceeded here. We are not talking about a single, isolated instance of a leak; rather, we are looking at “an avalanche of leaks” on national security matters. On a matter of this seriousness, there is clear precedent to appoint an outside special counsel when there is the potential for a conflict of interest, the specter of political influence, or other extraordinary circumstances. As this is clearly the case here, we request that you appoint an outside special counsel immediately.

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Chicken Littles!

Maybe, just maybe, if we had legitimate representatives trying to better things in this country instead of crying about the President and every time they think he might pass gas, I might listen to them when there is really something to be concerned about. The natural consequence of being cry babies is that when you really do have something to cry about, it sounds just like the last time you cried.

Grow up folks. The guy's not a Muslim, a Kenyon, a socialist, or anything else you guys - if not encourage people to think - then exactly what you don't discourage people to think.

Grow up and grow a pair. The sky ain't falling.

Oh, and amend the Constitution to reverse Citizens United so the monied interests (ie, your financial sponsors), kill "one man - one vote."

Well,

as long as it makes Obama look good for a day, who cares about the lives of others, our allies, or national security? Ask the U.K. and Israel if Obama's leaking has been a problem.

Well I tried

The UK was very polite but never did answer my question.I ended up apologizing for taking up their time. I felt like a fool. They were so polite.

Israel just hung up on me after a while. (I could hear them laughing in the background)