This week, Republicans on Capitol Hill opened yet another front in their continuous sniping against the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and Attorney General Eric Holder. Having demanded a federal investigation of intelligence leaks, they now claim to be outraged because Holder has asked two United States Attorneys to conduct that probe — and one of the two happens to be a Democrat.
Angry Republicans (and their media enablers at Fox News, et al.) insist that the White House must have leaked information about the President’s terrorist “kill list,” the success of drone strikes, and the killing of Osama bin Laden to improve the President’s martial image and re-election prospects. Never mind that they fawned over the Bush White House, regardless of its leaks and even its unlawful disclosure of CIA officer Valerie Plame’s identity. That was then, of course – and now the alleged leaks of national security material from a Democratic administration enrage them.
Whether those stories emanated from the Obama White House or not, someone must have tipped off the New York Times, which first reported the “kill list,” among other things. So consistent with President Obama’s evident obsession about stanching leaks, Holder appointed Ronald Machen, the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod Rosenstein, the US Attorney for the District of Maryland, to oversee an investigation and potential prosecution of the leakers.
Immediately, a loud claque stretching from Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) to the Fox Nation website began whining about Holder’s appointments. First, they said that the job ought to handled by a special counsel, not a pair of prosecutors subject to presidential appointment. And second, they complained that Machen had supported the president in 2008 and donated about $4500 to his campaign. (They never mention that Rosenstein was a Bush appointee, held over by Obama with bipartisan support in Maryland. But then appointment by a Republican president isn’t much protection against smears from the right — just ask Patrick Fitzgerald, who prosecuted the Plame case.)