john mccain obama and security leaks, Four years after President Obama beat John McCain for the presidency, they're at it again over news leaks.
Two days after Obama said it was "offensive" to accuse his White House of leaking national security secrets, McCain said he is offended by the leaks themselves.
"It's offensive to those who are doing the incredibly difficult work of intelligence," McCain said on CNN's State of the Union. "It's offensive to our allies who are terribly upset."
McCain added: "Our intelligence leaders in the administration say that this is the worst breach that they have ever seen. So that is what's really offensive about all this."
The Arizona senator again called for an outside investigation of the sources of leaks, saying a probe by Obama's Justice Department lacks credibility.
Among the leaked items in recent weeks: Obama's supervision of a "kill list" that targets specific accused terrorists; his ordering of cyberattacks against Iran's nuclear program; and precise details of a recent bombing plot out of Yemen.McCain also cited the criticism of then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates about leaks that followed the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Asked Friday about allegations that his administration is leaking details to promote his re-election bid: "The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive."
He later added: "We're dealing with issues that can touch on the safety and security of the American people, our families, or our military personnel, or our allies. And so we don't play with that."
Today on ABC's This Week, Obama campaign aide David Axelrod said: "There were obvious leaks, but they weren't from the White House"
The authors of two new books on national security -- David Sanger and Daniel Klaidman -- have denied that their information came from the White House. Both are veteran reporters with extensive contacts in the intelligence and law enforcement communities.
Attorney General Eric Holder has assigned two U.S. attorneys to investigate the sources of the leaks.
McCain called that insufficient, noting that the House is considering a contempt citation against the attorney general over the "Fast and Furious" gun-running investigation.
"Mr. Holder's credibility with Congress is ... there is none," McCain said.Sen. John McCain yesterday blasted President Obama’s claim that a series of national intelligence leaks to the media didn’t come from inside the White House.
“It’s obvious on its face that this information came from individuals who are in the administration,” McCain (R-Ariz.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The president may not have done it himself, but he’s ultimately responsible as commander-in-chief.”
Obama denied on Friday that the leaks came from the White House. He called “offensive” any claims that the leaks were a bid to make him look strong on national security.Republicans — led by McCain — continued to demand yesterday that an independent counsel investigate the leaks.
“If it is — and it certainly is — the most egregious breach of intelligence in anybody’s memory, that certainly requires a special counsel who is completely independent,” McCain said.
Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two federal prosecutors to investigate — steps that many critics say don’t go far enough.
The GOP claims that Holder has no credibility because he is under fire by House Republicans for failure to cooperate in their probe of the botched Fast and Furious gun program.
The intelligence breaches — many of which first appeared in The New York Times — have included details about a cyber-attack attempt against Iran, the administration’s secret terrorist hit list, drone attacks and the exposing of a double agent in Yemen.
McCain has been joined by two top Republicans — Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC) and Charles Grassley (Iowa) — in calls for an independent counsel.
Graham has said Holder’s actions fall “far short of what is needed and is not an adequate substitute for an outside special counsel.”
And on Saturday, Grassley, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, tweeted, “From my position on judiciary comm i call on PresO to appoint a special counsel to investigate national security leaks.”
Democrats, meanwhile, said it was too early to call for an independent counsel.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, said yesterday she wants to await initial probe findings before discussing an independent counsel.
“The investigation has to be nonpartisan, it’s got to be vigorous and it’s got to move ahead rapidly,” she told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said that his committee would formally investigate the leaks but that he was concerned about the level of cooperation he would get.
“Just today, the CIA informed the [committee] that it cannot respond to our request for information regarding the leaks, a very troubling event indeed,” Rogers said Friday.
The CIA has come under fire for allegedly sharing with Hollywood filmmakers classified details of last year’s US raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
“Something has to be done about this,” Rogers said on “Face the Nation.” “We have to close their yaps if we can.”
And Rep. Peter King (D-LI) joined McCain in his criticism, calling the breaches a “shameful cascade of leaks.”
The information had to come from the White House because the stories quote the president, King said on Fox News.