June 10th, 2012
10:51 AM ET
8 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. Crazy Harry

    I wish or senile senator from Arizona would retire to one of his many homes here in Arizona. What an embarrassment!

    June 10, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Donkey Party

    President Obama has many Republicans in his administration. Smart money says it was one of them that leaked the intel. By the way, McCain is the biggest national disgrace in modern history. I'm embarrassed he served in the same branch of military as me.

    June 10, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Bitter, old fool!

    June 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. jaimeh

    I think McCain's time for retirement has come. Senility is getting to him, and while he can say ANYTHING he likes, he cannot use his government position to obstruct reality. He should go the same route Palin did, if he is still lucid to do that.

    June 10, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    It was also obvious on it's face, that a CIA agent was outed by the Bush administration which is a violation of federal law. Where was your outrage then?

    June 10, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. ddt

    McCain, was saved from fighting when he was taken as a prisoner of war. He throw the towel and got taken as POW. The rest of the American soilders who stayed fought to the end and others got killed. McCain servived. He came out of the prison as an expert in foreign affairs. He pretends to be an an expert in all military affairs. He is now attacking the president for his foreign affairs policies. Can someone stop this man from making a fool of himself whenever he goes to the news media.

    June 10, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. beevee

    I hope this GOP old coot retires and shuts up. he has no credibility and no ones cares for what he says. Good Bye Mr. McCain.

    June 10, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. King

    it's amazing with wiki leak I didn't remembered McCain on the prowl like I see now, and that was way worst than now, oh I forgot those leaks didn't benifit the president. why is repubs trying to pin the bush disasterous gun smuggling policy on the attorney general. its amazing how these repubs can use side issues to woodwinkle the already gullible followers. they seems take out the part that it was their unreasonable policy that got those guards killed with our weapons we were selling to the Mexicans. did they drop that focus and only focus on the attorney general

    June 10, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Bill

    McCain needs to be places in a rest home or removed from office. Clealy, is mind is gone.

    June 10, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. G-nO-P

    poor old wrinkled jon .. still angry at his loss because of Sarah Palin...

    June 10, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Oh, look. McCain is on CNN ... again.

    McCain really, really needs to get over losing the election to President Obama. There will be no Cabinet position for McCain in a Mitt Romney Administration. Sad to see McCain pander to Romney in such desperation. It makes McCain and Romney both look bad.

    June 10, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. grahame rhodes

    Credibility!!!!? HA! I've only two words for MacCain Sarah Palin.

    June 10, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. SilverHair

    The senator is starting to act and sound like someone with serious dementia problems. He need serious help.

    June 10, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. exrepublican

    McCain says Obama allowed these leaks for political gain. So is accusing someone in the opposing party of something, without any evidence, on national TV somehow not for political gain?

    June 10, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Joe's brain

    All these personal attacks on McCain, yet none of you can argue against what he is saying. Typical liberals. You lack the intelligence to actually make a point, so you engage in ad hominem attacks. Everyone with any sense at all knows these leaks came from the White House.

    June 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. McCain is a McHero

    Totally agree with McCain on this one.

    June 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. jack878

    At his news conference today Obama stated that it's Bush's fault.

    June 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. guesswho22

    Its Bush's fault. There are still many Bushies in the White House and various departments of the government, especially the GSA. These loyal Republicans will do anything to bring Obama down and make sure he's a one term POTUS. They should be prosecuted to the highest extent of the law, not just a slap on the wrist.

    June 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. JohnRJohnson

    Senator McCain is a sad, rather stupid, pugnacious politician with a Napoleonic complex. He could have been a statesman but, instead, he has chosen to be a partisan hack.

    June 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. nolimits3333

    McCain..."You kids get off my lawn!!!"

    June 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. pc

    old man your jealousy of our president has eaten you alive!
    obama was elected by the majority of americans so get over it.
    mccain will say an do anything that he thinks will make him look stronger an smarter than president obama in hopes we americans will sadly wish we had voted for him an his hillbilly running mate. he needs to retire an read up on 21st century politics. he might learn a thing or two!

    June 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. thomas

    Gotta leave it to ex-President-wanna-be-in-love-with-Palin and his idiotic thoughts.

    June 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. saywho

    A pest control company need to rid the White House of a serious Republican infestation.

    June 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. allison

    Democrats are also upset by these leaks, and are confident they come from someone the WH trusts. Did any of you listen to Diane Feinstein's serious concerns about the threat to national security?

    June 10, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. JustMe

    Unless McCain has hard proof that this is true then it is completely irresponsible for him to make such an accusation. In other words John give us hard proof that what you say is true or shut the hell up.

    June 10, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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