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White House under increasing pressure to cooperate on leak probe

 

The White House is coming under intensifying pressure, on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail, to get to the bottom of recent security leaks that top officials now say "have put lives in danger." 

Apparent leaks over an Al Qaeda affiliate bomb plot and the digital sabotage of Iran's nuclear program have been under investigation by two Justice Department attorneys for weeks. But speculation about the source and motive for those leaks has boiled up in recent days, as one top-ranking lawmaker suggests the administration is not fully cooperating with its own internal probe. 

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said earlier this week on Fox News that the administration is not furnishing the full extent of records and personnel they should to investigators. 

Rogers later released a statement saying he has "serious doubts about the ability of the Executive Branch to investigate itself." 

"But at a minimum," he continued, "to restore confidence that the White House is not politicizing intelligence, it should immediately explain whether and how it is fully cooperating with the (Justice Department) investigation." 

Rogers called on the White House to surrender documents including emails to reporters and submit to interviews. 

"After all, it was the White House that rejected calls for a special prosecutor, claiming it was unnecessary due to the appointment of U.S. attorneys. The burden is on the White House to explain how they are fully cooperating with that investigation," he said. 

The challenge comes after Adm. William McRaven, head of Special Operations Command, said the leaks have put lives at risk and could ultimately endanger Americans unless there's a crackdown. 

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner said he agrees. "We have put lives in danger," Boehner said. 

He wouldn't go so far as to say the leaks came from the White House, but he said they certainly didn't emanate from "some underling somewhere."  

Boehner said an independent counsel would have been better for investigating the matter, but he joined Rogers in urging the administration to cooperate with the two assigned Justice attorneys to "get to the bottom of this." 

Speculation has swirled over who might be responsible. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., rocked the debate earlier this week when she said it must have come from the White House. 

Mitt Romney seized on the remark on the campaign trail, accusing the administration of leaking sensitive information for political gain. But Feinstein later walked her comment back. 

The White House says the president is taking the probe very seriously and that nothing was leaked for political gain. 

"The president takes this very seriously. We all take this very seriously. It is, again, an insult and preposterous to suggest that this White House would leak information for political gain," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday. "That did not happen and would not happen under this president." 

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also said she doesn't "subscribe ... to the idea that there's a preponderance of leaks." 

In response, New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte told Fox News "it's pretty clear Pelosi lives in an alternate universe."

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