Lieberman calls for special counsel on leaks
June 17th, 2012
11:26 AM ET
2 years ago

Lieberman calls for special counsel on leaks

(CNN) – Leaks disclosing important national security information should be investigated by a special prosecutor, independent Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday.

"I've been thinking about this since these leaks came out and I've reached a conclusion which is that we do need a special counsel," Lieberman said on "Fox News Sunday."

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A report in The New York Times earlier this month that provided classified details of what it described as a U.S. cyberattack targeting Iran's nuclear centrifuge program sparked bipartisan outrage. Other recent possible leaks of classified information included details on the administration's efforts to expand its drone program and President Barack Obama's involvement in "kill lists" against militants in Yemen and Pakistan.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets, but Lieberman said Sunday the fact that one of the attorneys had made donations to Obama's presidential campaign meant he couldn't reach an unbiased decision.

"No matter what he concludes, people are going to say it was biased," Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats in the U.S. Senate, said on Sunday.

"We need a special counsel because a special counsel avoids any appearance of conflict of interest," he continued. "Special counsels, independent counsels before them were created for a situation exactly like this where people might reach a conclusion that investigators. U.S. attorneys even, working for the attorney general appointed by the president, cannot independently and without bias investigate high officials of their own government."

With his call for an independent special counsel, Lieberman joins Republicans who have also called into question Holder's decision to investigate using U.S. attorneys. Last Sunday, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said on CNN that the attorney general had lost all credibility with Congress.

"This needs a special counsel, someone entirely independent of the Justice Department," McCain said.

David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser to Obama, said again Sunday the Justice Department investigation using U.S. attorneys would adequately probe the leaks.

There are going to be two U.S. attorneys "who have been appointed by the attorney general, including a Bush appointee," Plouffe said. "We are going to look at this thoroughly as it should."

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Filed under: Eric Holder • Intelligence • Joe Lieberman • White House
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Is Senator Joe Lieberman an Israeli Spy?

    Senator Joe Lieberman and President Shimon Peres. ... may indeed decide to grant clemency to convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

    June 17, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Four more years of THIS?! NO WAY!!

    When Obama was a Senator he demanded independent special counsels to investigate matters like this. Now that he's in the Whitehouse, his lackey AG Eric Holder appoints a Obama campaign contributor as one of the investigators! Before even starting, the investigation is tainted and any conclusion will be tainted. Obama's incompetence and the incompetence of his administration is breathtaking. Now we have some of our biggest secrets being revealed for purely political reasons, and in the process threatening our security and the lives of people who have helped us. Absolutely unforgivable. People need to be arrested, jailed tried and serve some hard time for this travesty.

    June 17, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Larry L

    Members of Congress and their staff should not be allowed to see classified information unless they have been vetted by the NSA – just like everybody else. Nothing about the election process provides the systematic analysis of the individual's vulnerability to security leaks even treason. For example, Newt Gingrich would have been refused a top secret clearance rating (not close to the highest level of security clearance) for his unethical behavior in the House. Countless other examples exist from both sides of the aisle. For many years members of the Congress have been involved in release of classified information and to my knowledge none have ever been prosecuted. A Soldier or Civil Service employee would go to prison for leaking classified information.

    June 17, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. Sandy

    Anyone want to bet a Republican is doing the leaking? They already said that their number one goal is to unseat the President, why not leak some things?

    June 17, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    He is retiring this year right good for the nation

    June 17, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Malory Archer

    Four more years of THIS?! NO WAY!!
    When Obama was a Senator he demanded independent special counsels to investigate matters like this.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And how did those work out? Oh, that's right – they never happened because deadeye dick flat out REFUSED to cooperate, claiming he was "too busy" for partisan politics. Any your ilk lapped it up like kittens to warm milk, shouting for us "libruls" to "get over it".

    June 17, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. jack878

    One thing is for sure Obama's campaign won't include the cost the additional body bags used for the lives lost because of these leaks so Obama can get re-elected. At his press conference today Obama announced that the leaks were Bush's fault.

    June 17, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. California

    This administration is most likely leaking this information based exclusively for political reasons.

    June 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Malory Archer

    jack878
    One thing is for sure Obama's campaign won't include the cost the additional body bags used for the lives lost because of these leaks so Obama can get re-elected. At his press conference today Obama announced that the leaks were Bush's fault.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    How many body bags were needed after the previous administration's outing of CIA staff? Sure, your ilk tried to downplay the roles of the staff affected, and lapped it up like kittens on warm milk while shouting for us "libruls" to "get over it".

    June 17, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    That's right.!! Only Democrats have ever leaked information. Republicans would never... Hey!! Wait a minute...

    June 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Four more years of THIS?! NO WAY!!

    Larry L - Members of Congress and their staff should not be allowed to see classified information
    ============================================================================
    Huh??? Even the reporter has indicated the information came from the highest levels of the Obama administration, people who are in the Situation Room! TWO Obama administration people are even on record, Tom Donilon and Bill Daley! Are you taking a page out of the Obama smoke and mirror manual??? Congress has ZERO to do with these leaks.

    June 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    California
    This administration is most likely leaking this information based exclusively for political reasons.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    How so? It isn't likely to win him any support among his supporters, nor will it endear him to you and yours. If anything, it was leaked by someone who wants to damage him. mittens and his crew are now privvy to this info, so if anything, his camp leaked it for "political reasons".

    June 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Myviewis

    Obama promised transparency, perfect time to show us transparency. I say Obama stand by your words and give us an investigation into the leaks, have Holder turn over all the documents requested. Transparency!!!!!!!

    June 17, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. Catmandew

    These leaks need to be checked out by independent investagators.Present AG employees are in fear for their jobs so can not give a fair answer that is that.

    June 17, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Why probe a "so-call leak" when the Republicans have already pointed their finger at President Obama and you know what always happens when you "point a finger", there's always a finger pointing right back at you.

    June 17, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    The only reason any of these Repub yahoos care about this is because it's just another diversion from the FACT that Mittens is running on all the same-old, same-old GOP economic, military and foreign policies which are all PROVEN FAILURES.

    BTW, given that Mittens is running on GW Bush's agenda and using GW Bush advisors, why isn't the GOP trotting out ol' Georgie-Porgie to campaign with Mittens? Could it be because that would remind voters of just what a mess GW left our country?

    June 17, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Independent counsels take too long, have too much mission creep and never accomplish what they set out to do. Internal Justice Department investigations are always more effective, until the President (like Nixon) orders the acting Attorney General (like Robert Bork) to fire the DoJ investigator (like Archibald Cox).

    June 17, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. B.

    Somebody please tell this Mush-mouth to Retire – along with With McCain. Two has-been hacks that contribute zero to anything!

    Term Limits please..

    June 17, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Really?

    @Sandy No, really? Put politics aside for a second and think about it. Would you really tolerate the endangering of people from a democrat anymore than a filthy republican?

    June 17, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |