June 10th, 2012
10:51 AM ET
2 years ago

McCain: Obama responsible for leaks, Holder has no credibility

(CNN) – Sen. John McCain continued his blitz against the Obama administration Sunday, saying the president was responsible for the recent national security leaks–whether he knew about them or not.

"It's obvious on its face that this information came from individuals who are in the administration," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "The president may not have done it himself, but the president certainly is responsible as commander in chief."

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His comments came after the president himself forcefully dismissed the idea on Friday that the leaks came as a form of political strategy for the White House - a claim made by some Republicans on Capitol Hill, including McCain.

"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive, it's wrong, and people, I think, need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me approach this office," Obama said.

A report in The New York Times last week that provided classified details of what it described as a U.S. cyberattack targeting Iran's nuclear centrifuge program sparked bipartisan outrage.

Other recent possible leaks of classified information included details on the administration's efforts to expand its drone program and Obama's involvement in "kill lists" against militants in Yemen and Pakistan.

On Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder said he assigned two U.S. attorneys to lead investigations into the possible leaking of state secrets.

McCain, however, strongly took issue with the Justice Department overseeing the investigation, arguing the matter at hand required independent counsel and contended that Holder did not have the credentials to manage such a task.

"Mr. Holder's credibility with Congress is, uh, there is none," McCain told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

He pointed to the controversial Operation Fast and Furious, which involved agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowing illegal sales of guns, believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels, to "walk" from Phoenix gun stores into Mexico.

The failure of the program has prompted a GOP-led congressional investigation, with Holder at the center of the probe.

Switching back to the suspected security leaks, McCain described them as the "most egregious breach of intelligence in anybody's memory" and insisted Holder be removed from the case.

"This needs a special counsel, someone entirely independent of the Justice Department," McCain said.

On the same program Sunday, the senior adviser for Obama's re-election team, who held a top position in the White House prior to moving to the campaign, countered recent accusations that he had been in political talks with Holder.

“I rarely spoke to him, and I didn’t ever speak to him about issues of policy in the Justice Department," he said.

– CNN Wire Staff contributed to this report.

Also see:

Axelrod weighs in on Obama’s private sector comments

Romney video goes after Obama's comments on economy

Daniels, Walker want Romney to go bold


Filed under: Eric Holder • John McCain • President Obama • White House
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Freddo

    Senator McCain ... please sit down and shut up. Slinging mud at Obama for leaks is childish ... and simplistic.

    But then, you seem to be very practiced at making poor decisions. After all, you picked Sarah Palin as a running mate.

    June 10, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. GEORGIA TEE

    Are we still listening to mccain ?

    June 10, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. TommyTT

    Sloppy thinking, Mr. McCain. We've carefully taught our children that there's a difference between "fault" and "responsibility." If they didn't do something but it happened on their watch, it's not their fault but it is their responsibility. They need to straighten things out. Same goes for Obama. The leaks are not his fault and, if you read McCain closely, you'll see that he knows this. They are, however, Obama's responsibility–and you know what? He is taking action to straighten things out, exactly as he should. These accusations are election year bloviating with sloppy thinking underneath.

    June 10, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. TDiddy

    obama S u C k S!!!!!

    June 10, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. fofo

    What ever respect this man had, which I don't know why, should be washed away with his idiotic comments.

    June 10, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Thomas

    @ttcaros
    Two words: Sore Loser.

    Three words: " Time to Retire " !

    McCain has always been a follower and not a leader . When the economy went in the tank , John was like a dear in the headlights.

    Romney is McCain is GW Bush

    June 10, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. anonymous

    If McCain had led a call for impeachment of GW Bush for leading this country to a war that cost the lives of thousands of American lives, he would be more believeable.

    June 10, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Just Me Again

    Bitter old fart. Now, I generally don't have problems with an older person, but this loser gets on my last crainial nerve. I have read where people ask why does Arizona keep sending him back to the senate, but based on all the hate coming out of Arizona, it's no wonder why. Arizona is not one the brightest bulbs on the national christmas tree. When he opens his mouth, one should consider the source.

    June 10, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Kristen

    Where was all the right-wing outrage during all the Bush-era leaks (Plame)? Oh – that's right – silly me. It's only a problem when it's the "other guy"...

    June 10, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. anotherGDlefty

    Dr Mr. McCain and every else screeching about responsibility for national security leaks in the WH.
    Two words.

    Valerie Plame.

    Now please sit down and shut your yaps and go back to the business of....doing nothing to help the country.

    June 10, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Ed

    I think old man McShame has a leak in his colostomy bag.

    June 10, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. NoMoreLies

    Who benefited the most from the leaks? Obama did. It's all he's got, I'm a warrior. I'm Obama the Magnificent. Look at me! I saved every one. I'm your hero. You owe me your life and you will pay me back because I'm so great! Vote for me! BS

    June 10, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. u kiddingme

    McCain has been accepting money from Soras as Barry has been doing. Both are crooks.
    Mccain didn't want to win to be president he was bought off
    obama or what ever his name is has given away missile sites, taking down sats that warn us of Nukes from Iran and u think this administration don't leak infor. U must be a moron.

    June 10, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. NoMoreLies

    Who benefited the most from the leaks? Obama did. It's all he's got, I'm a warrior. I'm Obama the Magnificent. Look at me! I saved every one. I'm your hero. You owe me your life and you will pay me back because I'm so great! Vote for me!

    June 10, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. joeazona

    Wow. Los of McCain haters here. IF this info did not ceom from teh WH, then where did these "anonymous" ppl come from?

    June 10, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. NoMoreLies

    Who benefited the most from the leaks? Obama did. It's all he's got, I'm a warrior. I'm Obama the Magnificent. Look at me! I saved every one. I'm your hero. You owe me your life and you will pay me back because I'm so great!

    June 10, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. stopthemadness

    Of course he says that what better way to spread hate among the republican party and doubt among the democrats. It's a typical scare the public republican move.

    June 10, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. joeazona

    Wow. Lots of McCain haters here. IF this info did not come from the WH, then where did these "anonymous" ppl come from?

    June 10, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Stu Steinberg

    John McCain has turned into a bitter blowhard. Where was he when the Bush administration was lying about weapons on mass destruction? Where was he when the Reagan administration conducted an illegal war in Nicaragua by dealing with our enemy, Iran? This is a guy who goes to Afghanistan, never goes to the bush when he's there and, while surrounded by gun-toting private security that we pay for, pronounces things are great. I was there and in the bush and I'm telling you, thing's are not great. Where is John McCain when it comes to the billions of dollars we have had stolen from taxpayers by contractors in Afghanistan who I saw do absolutely nothing and whom the State and Defense Department IGs, during the Bush administration, detailed the thefts of our taxes? He was nowhere. He is a bitter loser and it's time he goes back to Arizona and stays there.

    June 10, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. u kiddingme

    mccain took money from soras, barry is still taking money from soras.
    mccain was bought off in last election, probably same as boehner.
    NEXT ELECTION VOTE EVERY REP. AND DEMOCRAT OUT AND WE WILL TRY TO SAVE OUR COUNTRY
    WITH OUT LAWYERS.

    June 10, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Rob Jones

    Look at all the Obama apologists here! If these repeated breaches of national security secrets to prop up Obama don't spol you on Obama, you are lost. This could well be the thing the finally brings him down within the Dem party it is so vile..or incompetent if you really want to be generous.

    Obama doesn't go to congress for war resolutions...heck, he acts as judge/jury/executioner on a regular basis with his drones hits. His supporters brag about him "killing OBL" I guess he gets a pass for that too. Hypocrites and idiots make up Obama's base.

    June 10, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. hypatia

    As they sang in 1776: SIT DOWN JOHN!

    June 10, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Bren

    Romney and the Republicans need to use the information regarding the White House leaks......Along with the video of Obama whispering to the Russians........"Psssstttt......Russia....Just wait until after the election, and I will give you whatever you want".........In ads in all states...to wake up even more voters to the "real" Obama!!

    June 10, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. GP007

    Plamegate ring a bell for anyone? Those involved in destroying our covert intelligence operation on nuclear capabilities in Iran got off scott free. Those culprits were practically turned into heroes.

    So now we have someone confirming what everyone knew, that Stuxnet was sponsored by one of the only nations that has the resources and motive.

    This is purely a political maneuver and I would not be the least bit surprised if the senate appointed a special investigator so republican candidates can crow about Obama being under investigation during the campaign.

    If Obama wins in November, he'll be impeached. For republicans, the end justifies means.

    June 10, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. MS

    It's 80 degrees here today.

    Obama's fault.

    June 10, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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