Under massive bipartisan pressure from the House and Senate Intelligence Committees leadership, Attorney General Eric Holder this evening appointed two prosecutors to lead a probe into recent leaks of classified information about Obama's role in covert operations including the Stuxnet viruses deployed against Iran, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and targetted assassinations by drones. But the appointment of the two U.S. Attorneys, Ronald Machen, for the District of Columbia, and Rod Rosenstein, for the District of Maryland, is unlikely to stop the demand for a Special Counsel to run the investigation. Holder himself is facing possible contempt of Congress charges for cover-ups in the investigation of the Fast & Furious gun-running operation, and Senate leaders continue to call for a special counsel to run the investigation.
The Holder announcement came one day after the bipartisan press conference of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees leadership Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA); and Representatives Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) where the Congressional leaders announced their deep concerns about the leaks, and said they would work together to investigate the matter and stop the leaks.
On June 5, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called for Obama to appoint a special counsel to investigate what Chambliss called the "pattern of leaks." Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has repeatedly said that the White House cannot be trusted to investigate itself, and on June 8, after Obama had personally denied the leak allegations, McCain again reiterated that he is calling on Obama to appoint a special counsel. McCain noted that the "one thing" Obama had not denied was that the leaks had come from the White House.
All day today, Obama was being hounded by the classified leaks story. He lashed out on the matter at a briefing with reporters, saying, "The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national-security information is offensive.... It's wrong." On Air Force One, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, "No," Obama will not allow a special prosecutor, and said the Administration "takes all appropriate and necessary steps" to stop leaks as a matter of policy. In a performance reminiscent of the White House press office in the Valerie Plame affair, Carney categorically denied any political motivation in leaking information.
The biggest blow to Obama, however, is the fact that the investigation is being taken up by the Democratic members of Senate and the House, led by senior Senator Dianne Feinstein in the interest of the national security of the country. Feinstein has a statement on her website noting how serious the matter is, and also gave several major interviews about her determination to find and punish the leakers and enact even stronger legislation against the leaking of classified information.
A well-informed Washington intelligence source told EIR early on June 8 that this scandal indeed has the seriousness and concern that could become a "Watergate."
By late today, that point was being openly made in the Washington press. "A senior Democratic Senator chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee calling for an invesigation at this stage, politics-be-damned America's security is most important," wrote the Washington Examiner. "Depending upon who leaked the information and the President's knowledge or involvement in it can be grounds for impeachment. That is how serious this line of pursuit is. It is a Watergate break-in moment."