Holder directs U.S. attorneys to track down paths of leaks

The New York Times reports: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday assigned two United States attorneys to lead separate criminal investigations into recent disclosures to the news media of national security secrets, saying they were authorized to “follow all appropriate investigative leads within the executive and legislative branches of government.”

Their appointment followed calls in Congress this week for a crackdown on leaks after disclosures on topics including drone strikes and a computer virus attack against Iran’s nuclear program. Several of the revelations were published by The New York Times.

“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information can compromise the security of this country and all Americans, and it will not be tolerated,” Mr. Holder said in a statement. “The Justice Department takes seriously cases in which government employees and contractors entrusted with classified information are suspected of willfully disclosing such classified information to those not entitled to it, and we will do so in these cases as well.”

Several members of Congress from both parties this week expressed alarm about recent leaks, and some Republicans had called for the appointment of a special prosecutor with greater independence from day-to-day supervision by the Obama administration to investigate.

But Mr. Holder instead assigned two prosecutors — Ronald C. Machen, the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod J. Rosenstein, his counterpart in Maryland — to take over direction of existing investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, elevating the stature of the cases but not giving them any special powers. [Continue reading…]

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