WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder on Fridayappointed two U.S. attorneys to lead a pair of criminalinvestigations into possible unauthorized disclosures of classifiedinformation, authorizing the two prosecutors to follow allappropriate investigative leads within the executive andlegislative branches of government. Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, andRod Rosenstein, the U.S. |
attorney for the District of Maryland,will direct separate probes that are already being conducted by theFBI. "These two highly respected and experienced prosecutors willbe directing separate investigations," Holder said in astatement. "I have every confidence in their abilities todoggedly follow the facts and the evidence in pursuit of justicewherever it leads." Three weeks ago, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the bureau hadlaunched an investigation into who leaked information about anal-Qaeda plot to place an explosive device aboard a U.S.-boundairline flight. Separately, calls from Capitol Hill have mountedurging a leak probe into a New York Times story a week ago about U.S.
involvement in cyber-attacks on Iran. The attorney general said Machen and Rosenstein "are fullyauthorized to prosecute criminal violations discovered as a resultof their investigations and matters related to thoseviolations." Currently, Machen is leading a high-profile political corruptionprobe of officials in the District of Columbia. The latestdevelopment in that investigation came this week when District ofColumbia Council chairman Kwame Brown resigned after being chargedwith lying about his income on bank loan applications. Before becoming U.S.
attorney, Machen helped lead the white-collarand internal investigation practices at the prominent Washingtonlaw firm of WilmerHale. He served as an assistant U.S. attorneyfrom 1997 to 2001. Rosenstein was an associate independent counsel who worked forWhitewater prosecutor Ken Starr from 1995 to 1997. He wasco-counsel in the fraud trial of Jim and Susan McDougal, the formerreal estate partners of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Both ofthe McDougals were convicted in a trial that also resulted in theconviction of then-Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith,R-Texas, said he hopes that the Justice Department brings"the full force of the law against these criminals." "We need to send a clear message to anyone who considersleaking sensitive information and putting Americans at risk: If youleak classified information, you will face jail time," Smithsaid in a statement. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen.
Patrick Leahy,D-Vt., called Machen and Rosenstein "strong, capable,independent prosecutors" and said the JusticeDepartment's consultation with the Judiciary and Intelligencecommittees was an aid to congressional oversight. 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material maynot be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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