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Eric Holder testifies to Senate on leaks investigation

June 12, 2012|By Richard A. Serrano

WASHINGTON -- Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. told a Senate committee Tuesday that members of the Department of Justice’s national security division have been recused from participating in new investigations into leaks of classified information to the press, but he insisted that the decision does not signal they were part of the unauthorized disclosure of secret material.

He also said that he and FBI Director Robert Mueller III have already been interviewed by two teams of prosecutors about what they knew about the leaks into secret drone attacks, cyber warfare and other clandestine operations.

Holder said only those members of the Justice Department's national security division who worked on matters that were compromised by the leaks, such as drones and cyber warfare, were recused from participating in the investigation.

“That’s a matter of routine,” he said. “It doesn’t mean these people did anything wrong. It’s just that their section might have had access to the material that was exposed.”

The attorney general also expressed full confidence in the U.S. Attorneys in Washington, D.C., and Maryland handling the leak investigation, and said he was opposed to a special prosecutor being appointed, as some Republicans in Congress favor.

“That would necessarily mean having to find someone, staff them up, find office space…,” Holder said of using an independent prosecutor. “And the need is for us to operate with some degree of haste and some degree of speed.”

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Richard.serrano@latimes.com

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