In a press gaggle on Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney avoided talking about specifics of the leaks scandal on the basis that there’s an “ongoing investigation, which I cannot comment on.”
“The president has made abundantly clear that he has no tolerance for leaks and he thinks leaks are damaging to our national security interests,” Carney said, saying Obama feels “extremely strongly” about this.
Senate Republicans have pushed Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate the situation.
In a recent letter to Holder, 31 Republican senators, including 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, argue that these national security leaks may be coming from high-ranking figures within the Obama White House.
“Press reports indicate that there could be many sources to the leaks within the Administration,” the senators wrote to Holder. “In fact, in Jo 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.’”
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has also wondered how Machen can be trusted to investigate anything independently after his role in the decision not to enforce the House’s resolution holding Holder in criminal contempt of Congress.
Grassley recently criticized Machen for appearing to be incapable of making such a decision for himself. Grassley also said that Americans should not trust Machen to investigate the leaks because of his failure to be independent in the Holder contempt decision.
“Your independence and integrity were cited as the reason that there was supposedly no necessity to appoint a special prosecutor,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Machen. “This matter gives you an opportunity to live up to that high praise and prove your independence. However, the way this has been handled so far suggests no such independence at all.”