Republican puts crosshairs on Holder over WikiLeaks
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should quit if he can’t stop WikiLeaks from disclosing government documents, Darrell Issa, incoming chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee said Sunday on Fox News.
“He’s hurting this administration. If you’re hurting the administration, either stop hurting the administration, or leave,” Issa said.
As chairman of the oversight panel when the new Congress convenes Wednesday, the California Republican has the authority to investigate the government for waste and fraud and will be able to issue subpoenas to obtain information he believes he needs.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has angered the United States by releasing secret diplomatic cables on his website and teaming up with newspapers around the globe to amplify the impact of the disclosures.
“If the president says ‘I can’t deal with this guy as a terrorist,’ then he has to be able to deal with him as a criminal, otherwise the world is laughing at — at this paper tiger we’ve become,” Issa said of Assange.
Issa said his panel would address WikiLeaks “to get that right so the diplomats can do their job with confidence and people can talk to our government with confidence.”
A Justice Department spokesman declined comment on Issa’s remarks.
Issa reiterated Holder’s previous statements that the U.S. government was considering using the U.S. Espionage Act , as well as other laws, to prosecute Assange.
The new Congress would also have to craft whistle-blower legislation to set policy on those who report government misconduct, under the new circumstances created by WikiLeaks, Issa said.
“The next whistle-blower bill has to deal with WikiLeaks and the loss of these classified documents in a mature, bipartisan way,” he said.
Photo Credits: REUTERS/Mike Blake (Issa announcing he would not run for governor, Aug. 7, 2003); REUTERS/Jason Reed (Issa (R) with Indiana Rep. Dan Burton at a House Oversight hearing)