[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 94 (Wednesday, June 20, 2012)]
[Page S4359]

                       CALL FOR A SPECIAL COUNSEL

  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, 2 weeks ago, I stood in this Chamber 
and joined with Senator McCain calling for the appointment of a Special 
Counsel to investigate the recent series of leaks of classified 
information that are so damaging to our national security. Despite the 
bipartisan support for a Special Counsel, the Attorney General chose 
instead to appoint 2 United States Attorneys who will act under his 
supervision and conduct separate investigations of just two of these 
  I believe the American people, our Intelligence Community, and our 
allies deserve a better response from the Attorney General and from 
this Administration. These leaks have violated the public trust and 
potentially damaged vital liaison relationships we can ill afford to 
lose in our fight against ongoing threats from terrorism and hostile 
  As I understand it, one prosecutor will investigate the leak on the 
AQAP bomb plot; the other, the leak on STUXNET. That's a real problem. 
This means other leaks, including the ``kill list'' story, will not be 
investigated. Yesterday, the Washington Post published a story that 
attributed information about apparent joint U.S.-Israeli cyber efforts 
to a former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official. It would sure be 
helpful if a Special Counsel had jurisdiction to look at all of these 
  The timing, substance, and sourcing of these stories have also raised 
questions about whether they came from the White House and whether 
there is a pattern of leaks. It's hard to imagine how two U.S. 
Attorneys who work for this administration will be able to investigate 
this aspect of the case without being perceived as biased by those who 
are unhappy with what they ultimately find. We need a Special Counsel 
who will be trusted, no matter what he finds.
  I am not questioning in any way the qualifications of these U.S. 
Attorneys to do the jobs for which they were confirmed by this Senate. 
I know questions have been raised about the prior political activities 
of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and whether he might 
be too deferential to the White House. I have no specific reason to 
question the capabilities or integrity of either of these men. But the 
very serious nature of these leaks demands an investigation that is 
conducted in a manner totally above reproach and without any possible 
inference of bias.
  Unfortunately, because these U.S. Attorneys must answer to the 
Attorney General, they cannot conduct independent investigations. With 
each key decision they make--whether to subpoena a journalist, what 
investigative techniques should be used, what charges can be brought--
they will be subject to the Attorney General and his direction. That is 
hardly independent.
  Last week, the Attorney General testified before the Senate Judiciary 
Committee that appointing a U.S. Attorney was the same thing that was 
done in the Valerie Plame case. I submit that was an entirely different 
scenario because in that case, Mr. Fitzgerald, who was a special 
counsel appointed, insisted on getting written confirmation that he 
would be truly independent from the then-acting Attorney General. He 
got that confirmation in writing from then-Acting Attorney General 

  Significantly, the Plame case involved a single leak of classified 
information, and was deemed serious enough to warrant an independent 
investigation. The former President also ordered his staff to come 
forward with any information they had about the source of the leak.
  In this case, there have been a series of incredibly damaging leaks 
in articles citing ``senior Administration officials'' and White House 
``aides.'' We have seen no clear instructions from this Administration 
for officials to come forward. This situation seems to create a greater 
appearance of a conflict of interest for the Attorney General than was 
presented in the Plame investigation and calls out for the appointment 
of Special Counsel.
  The Attorney General also testified that he could always appoint 
these U.S. Attorneys as Special Counsel if they needed to investigate 
acts outside their jurisdictions. Others have made the argument that we 
have to wait to see if these U.S. Attorneys do their jobs well before 
appointing a Special Counsel. Neither argument makes sense to me. Why 
on earth would we wait?
  All of these leaks should be investigated together--not separately--
and they must be investigated now. The leaks are relatively recent and 
the trail is still somewhat fresh. But if we have to wait to see how 
these men measure up, or if the trail takes us to a district outside 
their specific jurisdiction, we run the risk of losing evidence or 
memories fading. Those aren't risks anyone should be willing to take.
  This is not, and must not become, political. It's about finding these 
criminals who have jeopardized our national security and ensuring that 
they are brought to justice in an independent, objective, apolitical 
  Again, I call on the Attorney General to do now what should have been 
done 2 weeks ago. This series of leaks should not be treated as 
business as usual. As Congress considers legislative solutions to put a 
stop to these leaks, the administration needs to step up its response. 
Appointing a special counsel who can independently and comprehensively 
investigate all of these leaks and find who is responsible for any and 
all of them is the best way to restore the public trust in our 
government and our government officials.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.