Former GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson charged in an interview with Newsmax.TV that his former Senate colleagues should find a way to address the unprecedented rash of leaks threatening America’s national security, or “pack up and go home.”
Speaking in an exclusive interview this week, Thompson also:
Watch our exclusive interview. Story continues below.
- Predicted there is little chance the Bush-era tax cuts will be allowed to expire at the end of the year;
- Said U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder was the wrong choice to head the Justice Department, observing that it’s hard to tell where “ineptness ends and corruption begins” in Holder’s organization;
- Called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall challenge victory the most significant political event in a “long time;”
- Accused president Obama of attempting to “demagogue anybody” who tries to make changes to his agenda and declared that the 2012 election marks a watershed in American politics; and
- Supported the potential choice of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as a running mate for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Thompson joins a growing number of current and former lawmakers who have been flabbergasted over a series of recent leaks of classified information that have been generally favorable to President Obama. On Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced he was appointing two federal prosecutors to investigate.
“We’ve had a rash of leaks that are unprecedented as far as our intelligence community is concerned and national security is concerned and classified documentation is concerned,” declared Thompson, who once served as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of the Watergate scandal.
“The Senate has an opportunity to show that it’s still the Senate. If the Senate can’t, on a bipartisan basis, step up and do something about these leaks — which, clearly, are coming out of the White House — then it might as well pack up and go home.”
Soon after the raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden raid, for example, word began leaking to the press that a Pakistani doctor had helped the CIA operation. Dr. Shakil Afridi was subsequently arrested and sentenced to 33 years in a Pakistan prison on a charge of conspiring against the state.
Ultimately, Holder must decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the person or persons responsible for such leaks, said Thompson, who was first elected to the Senate from Tennessee to complete Al Gore's term, after Gore was elected vice-president.
He said that Holder put on a “pitiful display” in his handling of the bungled Fast and Furious gunrunning operation, and he describes America’s top lawman as “not up to the job.”
Thompson, who sat in the Senate from 1994-2003 said that Holder has emerged as one of the “most politicized attorney generals” in the history of the U.S.
“It’s hard to tell with this Justice Department where ineptness ends and corruption begins,” observed Thompson, an actor whose most famous role was on TV's "Law and Order."
“Clearly, they’re hot on the trail in Congress on this Fast and Furious matter. Clearly, the department’s trying to cover it up as much as they can. Clearly, they’ve been disingenuous with the committee.”
With dire predictions that the economy is approaching a so-called “fiscal cliff,” Thompson said he doesn’t believe there’s much chance that lawmakers will allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of this year.
“There’s not much chance at all, frankly, that those tax cuts are going to be done away with,” he insisted. “Again, the election results are going to speak very loudly on this issue and there are too many economists out there, including Democrats, who point out the obvious truth; that the worst thing in the world we could do right now, when we’re struggling to stay out of recession, is to increase taxes.”
Thompson praised Tuesday’s historic election of Walker, who, became only the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall vote — and the first to emerge victorious as voters delivered a 7-point victory for the Republican over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett on Tuesday.
“The Walker win was the most significant political event in a long time in this country. The corrupt relationship between public sector union bosses and political figures has now been exposed,” according to Thompson.
“People understand what it is and how it’s inured to the detriment of these municipalities and these states, and they’re going bankrupt because of commitments that have been extracted over the years. It just goes to show that if someone speaks the truth about this, and sticks with their convictions, and takes it to the people, and has the courage to do so, that they can prevail.”
Having sought the 2008 Republican nomination for president, Thompson is supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney this time around. “This is a watershed election. A lot of people realize that this brink that we keep talking about over the years really is here now, and we have to make some fundamental decisions,” he said.
“We can’t continue on the road that we’re on. Losing credit ratings, spending an additional $5 trillion that we don’t have since this president took over,” Thompson explained. “Debt in this country now has reached 100 percent of GDP, and our public debt is going to be 70 percent at the end of this year, according to the CBO. We can’t sustain that sort of thing.”
Thompson accuses President Obama of bullying. “Obama’s response to all that is to demagogue anybody who tries to make any changes, any differences, any aversions to the cliff that we’re about to go over,” he said. “The changes are clear to me. It’s not best about who can push a button and create jobs. Presidents don’t create jobs. What they do is have sense enough to get out of the way on some things, and promote growth policies on the other things, and that’s not complicated.”
While declining to say who is on his short life of possible running mates for Romney, Thompson agreed that Jindal would be a good choice since the Louisianan has reportedly been gaining traction among Romney campaign sources.
“He’s one of several good choices. He’s a good man. Good record. He fits the bill. But as I say, I’m not recommending anyone in particular."
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