Boston Herald Editorial – The director of national intelligence has decided basically to lock the barn after a host of national security leaks, but it’s just not enough for some Republican senators — and they are oh so right.
Yesterday Sen. John McCain was joined by a number of his colleagues in calling for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate recent leaks of highly sensitive information such as the use of a computer virus to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program and the president’s role in ordering drone strikes on certain terrorist targets.
The senators’ news conference and a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder amount to a vote of no-confidence in the man who already faces contempt of Congress charges for his response to the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal.
And while Holder recently appointed two U.S. attorneys to investigate the national security leaks, few on the GOP side of the aisle trust him to probe an administration he has served as loyal foot soldier.
“The numerous national security leaks reportedly originating out of the executive branch in recent months have been stunning,” said a letter to Holder, signed by more than 30 GOP senators. “If there were ever a case requiring an outside special counsel with bipartisan acceptance and widespread public trust, this is it.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper announced Monday that investigators from any intelligence agency will have the authority to administer lie detector tests to suspected leakers who would be subject to firing or reprimand even if the disclosure did not rise to the level of criminal conduct. A new inspector general will be given broader powers to conduct such investigations. All of which is perfectly fine and long overdue.
But it doesn’t solve the problem of an administration that leaks like a sieve and then insists it can investigate itself — something that, the letter to Holder insists, “no administration should be expected” to do “in the midst of an election.”
Only a special prosecutor can solve that problem.