Quotes of the day

posted at 10:30 pm on June 13, 2012 by Allahpundit

Senator John Cornyn of Texas tells National Review Online that the Obama administration’s refusal to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate a series of intelligence leaks to the New York Times is a “cover up.”

“It’s all politics, all the time, at the Department of Justice,” Cornyn says. “Now that they’re in cover-up mode, they’re hiring Obama-campaign volunteers to look into the leaks.”…

On Tuesday, a few hours after calling on Holder to resign, Cornyn, along with Senator John McCain of Arizona, attempted to introduce legislation that calls for an outside counsel to investigate the leaks. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, promptly blocked the resolution.

***

And, here’s the big story:

“Machen, who lives in Silver Spring, is expected to move to the District while he holds down the job.

“Over the years, he has donated $4,350 to Obama’s campaigns. He gave $250 to Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign in 2003, a year before Obama, then an Illinois state senator, emerged on the nation’s political radar, according to campaign finance records.”

So Holder appointed a man who has his current job because Obama appointed him to it and has over the years given thousands to Obama’s campaigns. And we’re supposed to take this investigation seriously?

Has there ever been a more blatant conflict of interest?

***

As I pointed out in the same column, all administrations do this sort of thing. After al Qaeda’s 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, for example, President Clinton came under blistering criticism for authorizing a retaliatory strike against what was reported to be a mere pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. Richard Clarke, Clinton’s top counterterrorism aide, was duly dispatched to inform the press that the U.S. intelligence community was certain the factory was being used by Saddam Hussein’s regime, al Qaeda and the Sudanese Islamist government for a joint venture in nerve gas production.

Like Libby’s disclosure, Clarke’s was in the national interest because it corrected damaging misinformation that could have discredited appropriate actions taken in American national defense. By contrast, the Obama leaks are fueling what are basically campaign ads. But, again, from a prosecution standpoint, that is irrelevant. The president gets to disclose classified information for any reason, or no reason.

That is why the leak controversy, first and foremost, is about holding President Obama politically accountable. It is silly to focus on legal accountability. That is not only a matter of considerably less importance; it is one as to which there is virtually zero realistic hope for satisfaction.

Forget the criminal investigation, which will just give knowledgeable witnesses an excuse to withhold cooperation from any congressional inquiry. Congress needs to focus on the culture of recklessness Obama has fostered regarding the nation’s defense secrets — beginning with the transparently political disclosure of classified memoranda about the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program and continuing up to these latest nakedly political, campaign-driven leaks.

***

It is up to Mitt Romney, as the leader of the Republican Party, to choose to make the Obama leaks a campaign issue.

So far, Romney has been silent on this and too many other issues. If he chooses to remain silent on the Obama leaks, he will surrender the issue leaving Obama to continue the leaking and gain whatever political advantage within reach. Instead, Romney could and should seize upon the issue. Romney should speak out quickly, joining in the bipartisan call for an investigation and asking the intelligence committees to hold the closed hearings to obtain the assessments of damage.

When — and if — the committees hold those hearings, Romney should use whatever they may disclose to make a major speech on the issue, calling the Obama administration to account for its actions against our nation’s security. It’s all up to Romney: he can be the leader of the Republican Party or sit silent, absorbing the damage to his campaign and ignoring the damage to our national security.

***

***

Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King (R-NY), sat down with Jamie Colby today on America’s News HQ to discuss the investigation into the leaks on counter-terrorism programs. Congressman King said, “This is the most shameful cascade of leaks I’ve ever heard or seen in government. We’re not talking about an incidental leak coming out … We’re talking about leaks involving two of the most sensitive programs in the United States government.”

He said it’s “clear” from those stories published in The New York Times that the information “came from the White House, came right from the National Security Council, came right from the Situation Room.” Rep. King continued, “For the president to say he’s outraged by this … how come he said nothing about it until a few of us, including John McCain, stood up and took him to task for it.”



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