GOP Plays Blame Game on Leaks


Republican Party stalwarts are calling for a special counsel to look into leaks in the Obama Administration’s national security team.

“It’s the height of†hypocrisy†for them to oppose it,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who lost to President Barack Obama in 2008, and who today introduced a resolution asking for a special counsel. The Hill reported that McCain said, “They all supported the appointment of a special counsel when the issue was far less serious than this one.”

McCain was referring to the Plame affair, in which a covert CIA operative was outed by the Bush White House in an effort to discredit opponents of the Iraq War. The investigation into the affair ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, whose sentence was commuted by then-President George W. Bush.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that leaks about the ongoing U.S. efforts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program are harmful and problematic, but Democrats sharply disagreed with the need to appoint a prosecutor.

“To have a fight over how we do this now will set back any leak investigation,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., during a hearing of the Judiciary committee.

Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two Justice Department officials to investigate the leaks: Rod Machen, who was appointed by George W. Bush, and Rod Rosenstein, who worked for former special counsel Ken Starr during the investigation into the Monica Lewinsky affair.

“We have people who have shown independence, an ability to be thorough and who have the guts to ask tough questions,” Holder told the Judiciary committee. “And the charge that I’ve given them is to follow the leads wherever they are, whether it is ó wherever it is in the executive branch or some other component of government. I have great faith in their abilities.”

But Republicans were not mollified.

“The question thatís raised by your answer is whether you have the independence when all of this comes back through you, and given your track record,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to Holder.

“Thereís no doubt in my mind if the shoe was on the other foot, you and everybody on that side would be screaming,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., during the committee hearing. That statement drew a sharp rebuke from Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who said Graham’s comments were “over the line.”

Republicans appear to have seized on leaks as a means to cudgel the Obama Administration on foreign policy. Obama has received plaudits for ending the Iraq War and killing Osama bin Laden, and has his strongest approval ratings on foreign policy. Indeed, Obama has received sharper criticism from the left than the right, especially for using the Espionage Act to prosecute six different people for leaking information.


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Image Credit: Marc Nozell


John B.
John B5 years ago

I am willing to wait and see what Rod Machen and Rod Rosenstein turn up. Then if the information isn't satisfactory at that time bring up the special prosecutor appointment issue. Thank for the article Jeff.

Wesley Struebing
Wesley Struebing5 years ago

Mary L, get off your high horse. No one is blaming ANYONE at this stage, let alone Democrats Or as you so quaintly put "Demorats") blaming anyone about anything.

That's what those guys from the Justice Department (and if appointed as the Republicans are demanding, the Special Prosecutor) are supposed to figure out.

So, sit tight, and let's see what gets turned up. THEN you can talk about blame.

Melva H.
Melva H5 years ago

I am amazed at the vast difference of substance of comments from Left Wingers vs Right Wingers. When I began reading published reports of studies between Left brain wiring and Right brain wiring, I had doubts. I no longer doubt the scientists; I've seen many reports and many X-rays of the brains. There is a vast difference in how information is processed, understood and responded to. The Right base now relies on continuing to broadcast talking point memos that have proven to be lies, while the Left articulates proven data and common sense....Of course, the Right Wing Elite do tell deliberate lies to their political base, but I now believe that the base is unable or unwiilling to accept Truth- or face Facts: They prefer to accept and believe lies. This semi-pass does NOT extend to the corporate billionaires OR their hired political partisan sheeple - these freaks are destroying the country for personal financial gain and an all-or-nothing bid for unregulated, unrestricted Power.

Carole L.
Carole L5 years ago

Just ,more Fright Reich BS.

Tracy S.
“I just love how the trolls wake up and search out progressive forums to start crap.”

FAUX REPUBLICON CAMPAIGN station on commercial break again.

Robert L.
“The Valarie Plame affair wasn't about a single agent. Entire networks were exposed when Plame was outed. Everyone associated with her cover organization was exposed as were all the contacts that they had made. We may never know how many died or were imprisoned as a consequence of this petty attempt to discredit her husband. The loss to our intelligence community is incalculable and who knows how long it will take to restore even a fraction of it.”

Precisely, Robert. Not only that she was the one who was actually in the know about WMD and knew there were none of in Iraq.

Charles P.
Charles P5 years ago

Let's see, the outing of an active CIA agent, thereby rendering her useless along with an unknown number of agents as well as contacts in foreign countries, who could have provided valuable information on thngs like the Iranian nuclear program is less problematic than what is happening in the B.O. bunch? If Plame was still active and had all of her contacts working, as she once did, maybe would know a hell of a lot more about Iran. Rmember, her specialty was nuclear proliferation.

nancy d.
nancy B5 years ago

The GOP is doing this so they have a reason not to do anything about increasing jobs, helping fix the economy, dealing with education just to name a few. Heaven forbid they do anything productive between now and November. It might make Obama look good and they can't have that. They would rather shoot themselves in the foot than do that.

Steve R.
Steve R5 years ago

Well - the GOP has had the best of all "blame game" teachers, has it not?

What did you expect with Obama blaming everything in existence, including his miserable failures, on Bush?

Not so nice when the shoe's on the other foot, is it?

Jennie R.
Jennie D5 years ago

There is an investigation going our justice department, Republicans just want to take it over and use it as a way to "get at" President Obama. The treachery of the GOP knows no bounds.

Jennie R.
Jennie D5 years ago

Cornyn, the creepiest guy in congress and who has an outsized sense of entitlement is one of the leaders in this.....again going after Holder and actually trying to disrupt a real investigation. The GOP want to take over the justice department. They are sneaky devils and they never sleep. How anyone can support such an immoral party , as the GOP is just beyond me. Greed for power and money is their motivation for everything they do. They care nothing for people, our democracy, or our planet.

mary l.
mary l5 years ago

DEMORATS blame EVERYONE but themselves.