June 10th, 2012
10:51 AM ET
11 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. ru serious

    ....the rabid Obama folks (i.e the 50% of the population that pays no taxes) are out in force today. Now that their boy is on the hot seat, its total denial. Fun to watch for sure! Lets just hope this oblivious president is voted out, four more years of this empty suit is a non starter.

    June 10, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Hey, all you rightwing lackeys, how did you feel about Cheney outing Valerie Plame? Remember her? Probably not, since you guys seem to have the memory span of a gnat.

    Plame was the CIA undercover operative outed by the Bush Administration because her husband wrote an editorial exposing Bush's lying about yellow cake and Niger. The outing of this agent put many lives at risk, not only American but all her foreign contacts.

    Were you upset about this incident? Hmmmmm?

    That said, it makes no sense for President Obama to leak any information. He's proven through his actions (taking out bin Laden, weakening al Qaeda, going after pirates, getting us out of Iraq and working towards getting us out of Afghanistan) that his primary concern is to keep our country safe.

    June 10, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. artraveler

    McCain needs to retire. He continually rants about something he doesn't liike. Tomorrow it will be that the sun doesn't rise in the west.

    June 10, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. jim

    What do you expect from someone who campaigned on more deregulation for banks and wall street after Bush's depression part 2. The man's an idiot

    June 10, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. Pander Bear

    But outing Valerie Plame was A-OK!

    June 10, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Sue

    McCain – SHUT UP and GO AWAY! If you can't go on tv and say something to help America then just keep your mouth shut. As a Republican I am sick and tired of every politician just attacking another one.

    June 10, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Bob B

    McCain is a sore loser and is doing what his party wants him to do. I used to like McCain before the GOP made him change a lot of his own veiws, If it wasn't for the GOP changeing him and Palin as his running mate, he could have been our Preident. Now I would just like to see him fade away.

    June 10, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. BO Stinks

    Not only is Obama responsible for the leaks, he hopes to capitalize on them for the a few more desperate votes he needs.

    June 10, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Thomas

    It's Sunday

    Obama's fault .

    When all you Romney , McCain , Bush supporters find those WMDs in Iraq , pull your pants down and sit on them , you can't save your ass and your face at the same time !

    How much did the war cost , you people don't care .

    June 10, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. ken845

    Is this the same fool who chose Sarah Palin as his running mate?

    June 10, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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