WH scrambles on leaks after press conference

posted at 9:31 am on June 9, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Looks like Barack Obama’s statement on the private sector doing “fine” wasn’t the only booby trap from his press conference yesterday.  Asked during the morning event about the series of leaks from his administration and their oh-so-coincidentally complimentary view of his own leadership, Obama pronounced himself offended by the insinuation that his team would leak sensitive information in an election year to save their jobs:

Later that evening, however, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice had opened an investigation into these very leaks:

Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday he had assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets.

“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information can compromise the security of this country and all Americans, and it will not be tolerated,” he said in a statement.

Holder assigned U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen Jr., a Democratic appointee, and U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, a holdover GOP appointee, to lead the investigations.

“These two highly respected and experienced prosecutors will be directing separate investigations currently being conducted by the FBI. I have every confidence in their abilities to doggedly follow the facts and the evidence in the pursuit of justice wherever it leads,” said Holder.

This looks like a compromise between an internal DoJ probe and the appointment of a special prosecutor.  Obama and the White House had rejected the appointment of the latter just a day earlier, but the rising bipartisan anger — and then the press interest in it — clearly forced their hand.  While Democrats objected to the Republicans’ accusation of political motivation behind the leaks, everyone on Capitol Hill was outraged by the leaks themselves, and refusing to investigate it at all was simply not an option after yesterday’s presser.

I’m no fan of special prosecutors; the mechanism almost always produces a prosecutor running amok, looking for any crime to justify the continuing probe, without any effective oversight or accountability.  That’s true in Republican and Democratic administrations.  The Department of Justice should normally conduct its own investigations and ensure that the investigations don’t run far afield from their mandate and the purported crime that required the probe in the first place.  In Holder’s DoJ, however, there is little confidence that they have the integrity and competence to investigate this issue, after the serial misrepresentations made to Congress by Holder himself and his deputies in the Fast and Furious probe.  This choice, to have two competing probes by US Attorneys appointed by different Presidents, looks like a good compromise.

That should not keep Congress from conducting its own investigation, however.  The DoJ is part of the executive branch, and it’s Congress’ duty to ensure that the executive branch hasn’t indulged in corruption or worse in pursuit of its own power.  The Senate and the House could follow up on Holder’s actions by appointing ad hoc bipartisan panels of inquiry into White House leaks, or perhaps form a joint committee where Republicans in the House balance out Democrats in the Senate.

Clearly, that’s what Holder’s announcement is intended to prevent.  It shows that the White House may be hitting the panic button over more than just a revealing remark about Obama’s cluelessness on economics.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

So, an investigation isn’t really an investigation if the FBI is doing it?

We need some political lackeys involved to show that we are really serious?

mockmook on June 9, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Joe Biden seems like a natural pick to be the fall guy.

Philly on June 9,2012 at 9:44 AM

Biden has to be good for something. His pick to be VP was a farce.

volsense on June 9, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Some of the most “intelligent” people I know voted for him.

BRunner on June 9, 2012 at 9:52 AM

High IQ and wisdom don’t necessarily go together especially in an age where knowledge is exalted over character and wisdom.

chemman on June 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Holder handles these investigations so very fast and efficient…see F&F.

d1carter on June 9, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Come on, Homer er Holder will blame the Republicans, with NO proof, and under the rug it will go…….

angrymike on June 9, 2012 at 11:40 AM

I hope everyone being questioned remembers that it’s a crime to lie to federal investigators and remember that this is exactly what brought Libby down.
blink on June 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Bingo. They know who was in the meeting. They question them under oath.

Buy Danish on June 9, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Think of the Pakistani doctor, who is tortured and faces death, who helped to DNA Osama.

Think of the 22 deas SEALs.

Vanglory must and will be punished. May it be in time.

Schadenfreude on June 9, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Think of the 22 dead SEALs.

Schadenfreude on June 9, 2012 at 11:44 AM

If this has already been mentioned, forgive me, I’m trying to do my reading on a phone today. It’s a drag. Here we go: I heard yesterday that one of the appointed prosecutors donated a ton of money to Obama in ’08. Anyone know if this is true? Thanks again.

joejm65 on June 9, 2012 at 11:47 AM

This looks like a compromise between an internal DoJ probe and the appointment of a special prosecutor.

NO.

“These two highly respected and experienced prosecutors will be directing separate investigations currently being conducted by the FBI.”

The FBI was already investigating. Holder is inserting two Obama political appointees to control investigations that the FBI doesn’t need any help to run. Their job will be to prevent those investigations from coming to any politically inconvenient conclusions. Like naming the Obama apparatchiks who are leaking national security secrets to advance Obama’s reelection campaign.

I have every confidence in their abilities to doggedly follow the facts and the evidence in the pursuit of justice wherever it leads,” said Holder.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…… Anyone who believes Holder is doing anything but protecting Obama is a damned fool… Holder is making sure these investigation go nowhere until after the election.

novaculus on June 9, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Just a reminder–you have to parse Obambi’s statement carefully. He did not deny that the leaks came from the White House. He said he found the assertion that his White House leaked to be “offensive.” It’s easy to make an assertion that is both trw and offensive (e.g., “you have bad breath.”)

osogrande on June 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Oops. True, not trw.

osogrande on June 9, 2012 at 11:54 AM

If you think the country is divided now wait until the next year or two when tough choices will have to be implemented – the unrest in Greece will be a cakewalk by comparison. If the Occupy movement is mad now under Obama wait until a Republican takes office. If Romney is elected and does his job right to restore fiscal sanity he may only be a one term president.

Texas Mike on June 9, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Don’t be that sure, WI is testament that people actually like the return to some orm of ormality and fiscal sanity…

jimver on June 9, 2012 at 11:58 AM

The Fox Investigating & Guarding The Hen House — I feel so much better and so much more secure about our national security now.

FlatFoot on June 9, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Is anyone taking this move by Holder seriously? Anyone anywhere?

farsighted on June 9, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Don’t worry, Obooba will just talk his way outa this with his customarily soaring oratory.

Akzed on June 9, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Just a reminder–you have to parse Obambi’s statement carefully. He did not deny that the leaks came from the White House. He said he found the assertion that his White House leaked to be “offensive.” It’s easy to make an assertion that is both trw and offensive (e.g., “you have bad breath.”)

osogrande on June 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Yeah, “taking offense” is just a way to deflect. In fact, he was implying he wasn’t going to do anything about it, because the very idea any of his handtools were responsible for leaking nationla security secrets to advance his reelection campaign is “offensive”.

The backlash must have been in the blowtorch category to produce an immediate response from senior handtool Holder. Of course, the response was to portray taking political control of a criminal investigation already being run by FBI pros in order to suppress any inconvenient results as a serious effort to get to the bottom of the White House leaks. But the short interval between Obama’s pitiful deflection to Holder’s smoke screen is instructive.

novaculus on June 9, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Just a reminder–you have to parse Obambi’s statement carefully. He did not deny that the leaks came from the White House. He said he found the assertion that his White House leaked to be “offensive.”

osogrande on June 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I wonder if there are any old videos or transcripts around where Obama accuses the Bush admin of lying in the run-up to the Iraq War, or accuses the Bush admin of routinely “torturing” and mistreating captured terrorists.

I suppose he didn’t think such accusations were offensive to Bush and his admin because, well, because it is okay to accuse a GOP admin of almost anything without being “offensive”. That’s just being patriotic, or something.

farsighted on June 9, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Im not a crook!

Richard Millivanilly Nixon Barack Hussa! Obama

Valkyriepundit on June 9, 2012 at 12:27 PM

This is just another slick move. By conducting their own “investigation”—no matter who they pick to do it—they create another way for the DOJ to hinder any congressional investigation that may be undertaken. They can now pull the same BS they do in the Fast & Furious debacle:

“Sorry, we can’t disclose any of that info because it would harm our ‘ongoing investigation.’”

Too slick by half.

IrishEi on June 9, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Interesting.

And likely.

Moreover, I don’t trust Feinstein’s motives, specifically, her political motives and methods. She was among the loudest complainers about the “gun issue” by, so she alleged vociferously, U.S. sellers/manufacturers with their products then going into Mexico and, presto, U.S. gets blamed for ghastly violent crime wave in Mexico. Suddenly the Fast&Furious mess erupts and Feinstein goes silent only to become primarily first and foremost in media complaining about this “leak of classified information.”

Concusion, politically, is that it then provides basis for “investigation” and another workaround by Holder to thwart compliance with Senate investigation of DoJ on these *among other* ghastly politically issues that affect our national security and nation’s present and future on so many levels as to be of the crises kind.

Lourdes on June 9, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Is anyone taking this move by Holder seriously? Anyone anywhere?

farsighted on June 9, 2012 at 12:08 PM

…nope!…Holder is just pooping again.

KOOLAID2 on June 9, 2012 at 12:34 PM

BuckeyeSam on June 9, 2012 at 11:17 AM

good point

cmsinaz on June 9, 2012 at 12:36 PM

holder will tout machen’s findings and ignore rosenstein’s findings…whaddaya say

cmsinaz on June 9, 2012 at 12:38 PM

I heard yesterday that one of the appointed prosecutors donated a ton of money to Obama in ’08. Anyone know if this is true? Thanks again.

joejm65 on June 9, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Machen has donated thousands of dollars to the Obama campaign. Rosenstein is actually a Bush appointee, but he didn’t contribute to Bush or Obama.

But you don’t get to keep one of those US Attorney plum jobs unless the new administration is convinced that you will play ball.

novaculus on June 9, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Eric Holder reports findingfs: Unfortunately we found Bill and Hillary’s fingerprints on the computer….

Don L on June 9, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Congrats to Holder, who has managed to turn the US DOJ into a laughing stock without a shred of credibility. I can’t wait until January 2013 when that little turd gets his a$$ thrown out.

scalleywag on June 9, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Catching me is offensive?

Don L on June 9, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Holder: “Anybody here leak anything? No? White House is clean.”

The Rogue Tomato on June 9, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Can I say “whitewash” without some racial connotation being inferred?

No?

Okay, I’ll report myself to ATTAAAACK WAAAACH forthwith.

hillbillyjim on June 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM

The President just can’t declassify information as he wishes. there are procedures the president has to follow and that will leave a trail. If the president could do this, then all information could be declassified at the president’s whim.

It doesn’t matter if it was a leak or it was declassified,the guy who helped get Bin Laden gets to rot in prison for the next 33 years. Who is going to help the US after that fiasco?

banzaibob on June 9, 2012 at 9:56 AM

You miss the point. If the inner circle is not going to be thrown to the wolves then some sort of story will be concocted. You would be shocked to know just how many high ranking military officials get a pass on mishandling classified. Believe me – it can be covered.

Doesn’t mean I agree with or support that approach. I’ve been entrusted with various information as a military person and civilian for 30+ years. Following the rules to see others of much higher rank is always frustrating and they always get away with it. If you think the president or one of his inner circle will take a hit “legally” on this one you are wrong.

Bradky on June 9, 2012 at 3:36 PM

“Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday he had assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets.”

That will be like Larry Flynt assigning Ron Jeremy to find any pornography in Hustler magazine.

HHW on June 9, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Read up on the meaning of Original classification authority and the DOD 5200 series and you will see that what I described could indeed happen. No need for a trial balloon.

Bradky on June 9, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Yes and no. The president has the authority to declassify anything, and then it’s not illegal to leak it.

But that doesn’t mean the president is shielded from the political fallout — even impeachment. National security issues are a perfect example of the kind of conduct that can be impeachable even if not actually illegal.

So Obama has lots of good reason to float a few trial balloons 5 months before reelection.

Even if be has the authority to release information, he can still be impeached if Congress can be convinced he damaged national security for short term political advantage.

Impeachment is not necessarily a criminal matter

tom on June 9, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Beyonce and the rapper dude husband (JZ, A2Z?,AZ?)
have pretty much free reign of the situation room. Let them head up the investigation!! They have as much cred as Holder and his gun running,corrupt DOJ!!

Marco on June 9, 2012 at 5:00 PM

You miss the point. If the inner circle is not going to be thrown to the wolves then some sort of story will be concocted. You would be shocked to know just how many high ranking military officials get a pass on mishandling classified. Believe me – it can be covered.

Doesn’t mean I agree with or support that approach. I’ve been entrusted with various information as a military person and civilian for 30+ years. Following the rules to see others of much higher rank is always frustrating and they always get away with it. If you think the president or one of his inner circle will take a hit “legally” on this one you are wrong.
His
Bradky on June 9, 2012 at 3:36 PM

True. For Obama, as always, it’s all political. Even the threat to him is a purely political threat.

tom on June 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

It’s parbly upthread but it can’t be said enough..

YOU LIE!!

BigWyo on June 9, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Hope, Change, Hammer, Sickle,

BigAlSouth on June 9, 2012 at 5:57 PM

“Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday he had assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets.”

That will be like Larry Flynt assigning Ron Jeremy to find any pornography in Hustler magazine.

HHW on June 9, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Ha, you’re the second Hot Gasser to bring up the Hedgehog on a HA thread today.

A+

Del Dolemonte on June 9, 2012 at 6:17 PM

In Holder’s DoJ, however, there is little confidence that they have the integrity and competence

In Obama and Holder we have the perfect answer to every political argument which ends “are you a liar or an idiot”?

Both are both.

Jaibones on June 9, 2012 at 6:56 PM

if we were to blame for “fast and furious” the libs would be ripping their throats out screaming on every channel.

silence from our side. once in awhile issa makes a little peep.

boehner/mcconnel poop.

renalin on June 9, 2012 at 7:01 PM


“The suspect was killed trying to escape…

… Case closed!”

Seven Percent Solution on June 9, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Holder and Obama are, to the bone, racist liars and thieves.

frizzbee on June 9, 2012 at 7:47 PM

How in the world can that guy walk into any room and think he’s the smartest guy in the room? One things for sure, he would have fit in at Enron.

xdwall on June 9, 2012 at 7:48 PM

And dumber than a bag of chisels.

frizzbee on June 9, 2012 at 7:52 PM

“I did NOT have sex with that woman”…..”I am deeply offended that MY Mhitehouse is being accused of leaking classified information”

LaRepublican on June 9, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Who are they kidding. This is the same guy that is stonewalling the F & F investigation until after the election. Holder should not be allowed to do this since he is under investigation for stonewalling for his boss already and all that is happening is he is given another investigation to stonewall for his boss. Isn’t there any one left in this great country to stop this?

jpcpt03 on June 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

I don’t think this guy cou;d tie his own shoe. When we elected this dim bulb, I told my wife, don’t despair, nothing this dope dose will work. It will just keep getting worse. I was right. Who still believes this guy is smart? The progressives are dead. Thank God!

StevC on June 10, 2012 at 12:51 AM

The fact that Zero considers it to be “my” White House is offensive to me, not to mention very, very suspicious.

Mr. Grump on June 10, 2012 at 8:17 AM

“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.”

Marcus Traianus on June 10, 2012 at 8:28 AM

“The notion that my White House would purposefully leak classified national security information is offensive.”

I actually agree with Obama on this– the notion is offensive. Sadly, I’d wager good money that it also happens to be true. The appointment of one of his campaign donors to investigate it is unlikely to convince me otherwise.

morganfrost on June 10, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Passing secrets in feeble failed attempt to make a weakling leader look s strong? Yes we know it’s offensive. We know it’s wrong. Did your people do it? That’s the answer we never got. Oh so you put Howard Holder Sprague on it? Oh yeah. Answers forthcoming, Real soon now. Mm hm.

curved space on June 10, 2012 at 9:10 AM

This is like the fox investigating the theft of the chickens. Obama and co yap about Seal Team Six, give film crews unprecedented access to secure areas, all in the name of the “Look at me! See what I did!” administration, and we’re supposed to believe obama knew nothing? Romney will have to spend his first few years just trying to convince other countries to trust us again.

Xyz22 on June 10, 2012 at 9:42 AM

When a president is incapable of the truth, when does the American public decide enough is enough. He has obvious leaks on top security levels and then sends the most corrupt sttorney general in history to “investigate”. Saying Obama is an amateur is being kind.

volsense on June 10, 2012 at 10:51 AM

BFD …
Bowles / Simpson Redux.
Slappy: “Oh really? That’s nice, but this is what I want to happen … ”

Extricate us from this multi-national extremist, Dear Lord.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on June 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM

“Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday he had assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets.”

That will be like Larry Flynt assigning Ron Jeremy to find any pornography in Hustler magazine.
HHW on June 9, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Ha, you’re the second Hot Gasser to bring up the Hedgehog on a HA thread today.

A+

Del Dolemonte on June 9, 2012 at 6:17 PM

I’m shocked and appalled that some readers here at HotGas know who is referenced by: “hedgehog”!
/sarc
(hell, even sleazy slüts didn’t like “working” with him *chuckle*)

~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on June 10, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Now that there is an on going investigation, no one can talk about it. NEAT!!! And the public and news groups are to blindly except this. Let me guess the investigation will take until after the election.

jpcpt03 on June 10, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I find it offensive the choomer is POTUS…

RedInMD on June 10, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Comment pages: 1 2