June 10th, 2012
10:51 AM ET
3 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. ThinkAgain

    This is just yet another ploy by the GOP to make people dislike and distrust President Obama. The Repubs can't win on their record of accomplishments (they have none) or their economic, military and foreign policies (they are all PROVEN FAILURES), so they resort to lies and innuendo.

    Their target? I truly believe it's all those folks who don't like President Obama or the idea of a black man in the White House but don't want to think of themselves as racist. Karl Rove is a master of exploiting this kind of weakness – and the GOP base has been played for fools for years, convinced to vote against their own economic self-interest, because of it.

    June 10, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Bristol

    And illegal aliens are starting the forest fires in Az, NM, and CO. Thanks John for dragging the USA down to Palin's level.

    June 10, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Bristol

    John.....when disgraced Pinal county sheriff Paul Babeu said "you're one of us" to you....exactly what did he mean?

    June 10, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. Severely Moderate

    So outraged that President Obama is on top of his game on foreign policy with minimal cost to the US.

    June 10, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Rob Jones

    Neither Obama or Holder have expressed any serious outrage over the leaks or the F&F fiasco–both of which have resulted in loss of life and freedoms for people. Why not? Because both scandals go all the way to the top and both situations have been devised by political hacks trying to influence public opinion–Obama as strong leader and attempting to put disfavor on guns with the American public. Axelrod in the Situation Room while Obama is pushing buttons? You people gross me out.

    June 10, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Sue

    The Obama supporters could care less if he/his administration are responsible for the national security leaks....They still support him even after he was caught on video whispering to Russia that he will give them whatever they want "after" the election. They would still support him....even if he admitted that he abuses/kills/eats dogs......

    June 10, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. independent

    When Cheney and his assistant leaked the name of a CIA operative, who was responsible then? Were either Cheney or Bush held accountable? Did Sen. McCain pronounce that they should be held accountable. What a hypocrite.

    June 10, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. bob

    Sen. McCain has no credibility when talking about leaks coming from the White House, it was under a Republican administration who outed a CIA operative Valerie Plame and leaked and numerous other highly secure information and we didn't hear one negative word coming from Sen. McCain or other Republican politicians, in fact they were highly protective of the Republican administration.

    June 10, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. crbrianb

    I've read several news articles before this information was considered leak using the information as proof positive as to why Obama should be re-elected. Considering how the press is constantly acting like the Obama campaign machine, I have a hard time buying that this wasn't leaked by the White House

    June 10, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McCain is losing all his credibility as prisoner of war in Vietnam when he stands with Romney who refused not once but four times to enlist in the Vietnam war, you would have thought he learned after Palin. Now he comes out sounding like Donald Trump with no evidence but just making accusations that are unfounded. McCain needs to go home and save the last bit of dignity he might have.

    June 10, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. coty

    If Obama was aware or had anything to do with the leaks and/or fast and furious he is irresponsible. If he was unaware of the leaks and/or fast and the furious he is irresponsible. I'm sorry exactly what was the plan for fast and furious. All the weapons were gonna be recovered before they could be used to kill anyone? I don't think so. They knew all along that's what was gonna happen and that is irresponsible.

    June 10, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

    STFU McCain and retire! you got your money, you got your hero-on, its time to take yourself out to pasture and after that I really don't care. Please exit DC as soon as possible the young Americans want you to go away along with the other tri-cornered hats around you ...1776 is SO-Over!

    June 10, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Rob Jones

    Fun to watch Obama supporters breaking down. Let's shoot the messenger!

    June 10, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    What a sore loser! Right, that how he was able to cause the downfall of Osama Bin Laden, by advertising his whereabouts, like the Republican Bush did, and then not give the kill order! Get real people!

    June 10, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Mona

    I wish Sen.McCain would SHUT THE HELL UP and RETIRE! All we here out of repugnants is lies & distortion. Man up,
    listen to all the facts.....geetz Louise!

    June 10, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Carla Vazq

    The weather is Obama's fault too! So is the size of potatoes, the cause of blisters on my feet, the cause of frogs dying young, the cause of rabbits biting their nails, the cause or grasshoppers being crushed by cars, the cause of smelly underwear, the cause of baby puke, the cause of of of of....shut up McCain! Crawl in a hole and rot.

    June 10, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. crbrianb

    I've read several news articles before this information was considered leaked that used the information to show how tuff Obama is on national security amd why he should be re-elected. Considering how the press is constantly acting like the Obama campaign machine, I have a hard time buying that this wasn't leaked by the WH.

    June 10, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Carla Vazq

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    The weather is Obama's fault too! So is the size of potatoes, the cause of blisters on my feet, the cause of frogs dying young, the cause of rabbits biting their nails, the cause or grasshoppers being crushed by cars, the cause of smelly underwear, the cause of baby puke, the cause of of of of....shut up McCain!

    June 10, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    @Rob Jones: It makes much more sense that a Republican leaked the information – think of all the Repub Senators on the Armed Forces and Intelligence Committees. After all, the Repubs have shown that their #1 goal is to defeat President Obama and cause him to fail, even if that means harming our country in the process.

    June 10, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

    HEY McClown!
    the only "serious" leak is in your adult-diaper...
    ...so move on out to pasture reptile!

    June 10, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. thatgirlinsantabarbara

    War hero or not, McCain buddy, you make me sick. Just because you were a POW doesn't make what your say sacred. Slink back into the hole you came from.

    June 10, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Kris

    John Palin...wannbe Commander in Chief.

    June 10, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. Kandi

    Go away!

    June 10, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. Peace

    I do think all McCain's bearings are loose or have fallen down. Time to go home John. You have served the country more than enough and don't wait to spoil even that small part of good work you did!

    June 10, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. GG

    Just one more example of an incompetant President. EPIC FAIL.

    June 10, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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