WASHINGTON – US Attorney General Eric Holder is hurting the administration by failing to prosecute the founder of the WikiLeaks website and may need to step down, a top Republican said Sunday.
Republican Representative Darrell Issa, who takes over as the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform committee, said that “the world is laughing at this paper tiger we’ve become.”
He blamed Holder for failing to bring criminal charges against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, which has published hundreds of thousands of secret US diplomatic and military cables.
“He’s hurting this administration. If you’re hurting the administration, either stop hurting the administration, or leave,” Issa told Fox News Sunday.
“Ultimately the next whistle-blower bill has to deal with WikiLeaks and the loss of these classified documents in a mature, bipartisan way,” he added.
He said such legislation would be swiftly taken up by his committee, “so the diplomats can do their job with confidence and people can talk to our government with confidence.”
Assange is on bail in Britain fighting a bid by Sweden to extradite him over allegations of sexual assault made by two women. His strict bail conditions include reporting to police daily and wearing an electronic tag.
Washington has been infuriated by WikiLeaks and launched its own criminal investigation into the disclosure of the documents.
WikiLeaks has argued that its release of documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the inner workings of US diplomacy exposes US military abuses on the battlefield and “contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors.”