In the same week that Attorney General Eric Holder’s contempt vote comes before the House, 31 senators are demanding that Holder appoint a special counsel to investigate national security and intelligence leaks.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) circulated the letter that was signed by Republicans ranging from Rand Paul (Ky.) to Marco Rubio (Fla.).
“You have an important role as a member of the President’s national security team, and no Administration should be expected to investigate itself impartially on such a grave and sensitive matter in the midst of an election,” they wrote. “Therefore, your recent announcement that two U.S. Attorneys would lead criminal investigations into the instances of unauthorized disclosures of classified information does not ensure a full and thorough investigation free of influence. ”
“The U.S. Attorneys are under your personal supervision,” they added. “An outside special counsel, with the appropriate independence and authority, would ensure that the investigation remains untainted by even the appearance of a politics or undue influence.”
The lengthy letter notes that President Obama, as a senator, requested a special counsel to investigate the Jack Abramoff scandal and went even further in the Valerie Plame scandal by demanding a congressional investigation.
The senators also note how Joe Biden, as a senator, called for a special counsel in the Plame case and in 2007 to probe the destruction of the CIA enhanced interrogation tapes.
“If the bar for an outside special counsel were met in the cases of Valerie Plame and Jack Abramoff, it is far exceeded here,” the letter states. “We are not talking about a single, isolated instance of a leak; rather, we are looking at ‘an avalanche of leaks’ on national security matters.”
” On a matter of this seriousness, there is clear precedent to appoint an outside special counsel when there is the potential for a conflict of interest, the specter of political influence, or other extraordinary circumstances. As this is clearly the case here, we request that you appoint an outside special counsel immediately.”