Tags: ayotte | holder | leak | probe

Sen. Ayotte: Holder In No Position to Handle Leak Probe

Wednesday, 27 Jun 2012 10:22 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Sen. Kelly Ayotte says the Fast and Furious gun-tracking controversy surrounding Attorney General Eric Holder makes it imperative that an independent prosecutor be appointed to investigate a series of recent leaks of national security information.

Speaking on Fox News’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” the New Hampshire Republican said Tuesday night that Holder’s appointment of two Justice Department lawyers to investigate the leaks concerning Iran and the targeting of al-Qaida leaders is unacceptable.

“There’s a lack of confidence right now in the attorney general,” she said, referring to the vote scheduled Thursday in the House that’s likely to cite Holder for contempt of Congress for withholding documents related to the Fast and Furious operation.

Given the circumstances, Ayotte said, the two lawyers should not be reporting to Holder about their leak investigation because it “may go up to high officials within the White House.”

“That’s too much to ask of any attorney general, particularly in an election year,” she said.

Ayotte joined 30 other Republican senators Tuesday in a letter to Holder calling on him to appoint a special prosecutor.

“On a matter of this seriousness, there is clear precedent to appoint an outside special counsel when there is the potential for a conflict of interest, the specter of political influence, or other extraordinary circumstances. As this is clearly the case here, we request that you appoint an outside special counsel immediately,” the senators wrote.

Ayotte told Van Susteren the leak investigation has to be “beyond reproach.”

“The American people have to have confidence in this investigation, and I don’t think they can from an appointment that reports directly to this attorney general,” she said.

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