Posted: Tuesday, June 12th 2012 at 12:29pm
Republicans want outside prosecutor on leak probes
By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday fended off Republican demands that he appoint a special counsel outside of the Justice Department to look into national security leaks.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley said they want the attorney general to appoint a special counsel to look into the leaks, rather than Holder's choices, U.S. Attorneys Ron Machen and Rod Rosenstein, who hold political appointments.
Graham and Grassley were referring to a procedure by which a special counsel appointed from outside the Justice Department conducts the leak investigations.
Holder praised the two U.S. attorneys as experienced and highly respected.
Machen and Rosenstein were appointed to oversee investigations into who leaked information about U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran and an al-Qaida plot to place an explosive device aboard a U.S.-bound flight.
Not far from where Holder was testifying, Sen. John McCain, President Barack Obama's 2008 rival and the harshest critic of the White House over the leaks, introduced a non-binding resolution calling for a special counsel. He was joined by more than a dozen GOP senators in pressing for the measure.
"This is one of the highest breaches of security we've ever seen," McCain said on the Senate floor. But McCain's move to get swift Senate passage of the measure was rejected by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.
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