“This investigation involves some of the most serious breaches of national security in recent memory and any investigation must be done in a manner free and clear of political considerations,” Graham and McCain said. “The recent decision of the Attorney General falls far short of what is needed and is not an adequate substitute for an outside special counsel.”

Other Republican lawmakers close to the scandal had guarded reactions to Holder’s move, though McCain and Graham stood apart in outright panning the appointments.

“I hope the Justice Department will bring the full force of the law against these criminals,” House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said. “We need to send a clear message to anyone who considers leaking sensitive information and putting Americans at risk: if you leak classified information, you will face jail time.”

“The investigation must be complete, fair and balanced,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said. “These US attorneys will need to have the ability to follow the investigation wherever it may lead. I look forward to hearing how they will be independent from the chain of command.”