WASHINGTON (AP) - The prosecutors at the center of a national security leak investigation are described by lawyers as intelligent and aggressive but also cautious.
Ronald Machen and James Cole are accustomed to riling defendants with their decisions, but their actions in the investigation involving the disclosure of classified information has invited unusually broad condemnation.
Attorney General Eric Holder has said he removed himself from the investigation into sources of an Associated Press story from May 2012 about a foiled bomb plot in Yemen.
Machen is the U.S. attorney for Washington who's been assigned to run the investigation. Cole is Holder's deputy and the official who decided to seek phone records of AP reporters and editors.
They're now the focal points for outrage over the intrusion into newsgathering operations.