Editorial: Security leaks should be investigated

The White House is a busy place, what with compiling that "kill list" for terrorists and developing a cyberweapons strategy against Iran.

So is the Justice Department, what with flirting with being held in contempt of Congress over withheld information on the bungled Fast and Furious weapons operation.

So President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should clear a little time on their BlackBerry schedules and consider having an independent special counsel investigate recent national security leaks.

It is ludicrous to entrust a huge bureaucracy with investigating itself. So Holder's assertions that U.S. Attorneys Ron Machen and Rod Rosenstein "have shown independence, an ability to be thorough and have the guts to ask tough questions" is irrelevant. The integrity of both political appointees, and who put them in their jobs originally, aside, they now answer to Holder and thus the president.

So it's unfair to expect them to investigate their bosses, or to expect them to hold strong under workplace pressure, should an investigation into these serious leaks that put the nation's ongoing operations and citizens at risk lead back to the Justice Department and/or the White House.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, claims the administration is "intentionally leaking information to enhance President Obama's image as a tough guy for the elections." Perhaps. But a tougher guy would order an independent investigation and let the chips fall where they may.

Back in 2007, when President George W. Bush commuted Scooter Libby's 30-month prison sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice in the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, then-Sen. Joe Biden said, "George Bush's disregard for the rule of law is truly unbecoming a president."

So is a disregard for transparency and accountability in a democratic government.

— The Albuquerque Journal

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