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. sure thats what they say

    comments from a sore loser, who seems to always flare up with wild statements during election years. I remember when we use to call his stances as "maverick" thinking, and now after cafeful consideration we realize he is just crazy.. won't be surprised to see him and Trump team up soon.

    June 10, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. ciabella23

    One has gotta to wonder how much Romney is paying him. As a ex-member of the United States Military, this is a disservice to all those who serve. You respect your Commander-In-Chief, you do not continue on a blitz...Those who yell the loudest, are normally found to be the one at fault.....

    June 10, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. JC

    While President Obama may be "responsible" because he is the Commander in Chief, he can't be "held responsible" for the actions of others.

    June 10, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. Tonyb

    he's a fool. Go hang out with your other fool buddy Liberman.

    good riddance.

    June 10, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. LePhantom

    Oh shut up McCain. If you had not saddled yourself with the Caribou Barbie, Obama would not even be in the picture.

    June 10, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Independent4sure

    You can all disparage McCain if it makes you feel better but he has a very valid concern with Holder having anything to do with the investigation into any possible leaks coming out of Obama;s administration. I personally believe that these leaks are without a doubt within Obama's nature to do. He;s very desparate and he'll do anything and everything he can, legal or not, to hold onto his presidency. His record won't do it for him that;s for sure.

    June 10, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. rabbit one

    your functions as a nation should be just enough and decent enough that if your secrets get leaked you are in no jeopardy

    June 10, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. j-stl

    Yup – Senator McCain is old and a Republican, therefore a national security leak from the whitehouse must not have happened. I swear, logic is a dead science on these forums.

    June 10, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Lee Brown

    Would someone please tap Sen. McCain on the shoulder and tell him that the campaign of 2008 is over and that he lost? The man is addled. Thank God he wasn't elected.

    June 10, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. ttcaros

    Two words: Sore Loser.

    June 10, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Karl Jonas

    What a bitter old man. Let it go, McCain, you lost fair and square.

    June 10, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Oscar Pitchfork

    Why is anyone still listening to the senile, spiteful, last-century bag of hot air? He looks like he's just plain stupid, with that George W. Duma$$ smirk on his face, as though he's thinking "I can't believe these dummies are still buying this s***"

    June 10, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. PTBarnumboy

    The perfect justification for an age limit in the senate.

    June 10, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Just Me

    What a sore loser who cannot get over the fact that Obama whipped him like a runaway slave in the last presidential election. He will say and do anything to get back at Obama. Looser.

    June 10, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. deliverance

    Obama does have large lips and is likely to sink our big ship!

    June 10, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Jules

    The same way the GOP presidents have been responsible for the leaks of their administrations, John? Thought not – get over it – you lost and now your stomping for the guy you citicized as being unfit to be president. So were you lying then or are you lying now?

    June 10, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. Mary

    Looks like sour grapes to me. Did he blame Bush administration's incompetency when 911 happened? I don't think Mccain has much credibility for people below 40.

    June 10, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Ed

    For all you people bashing McCain he along w/ very Liberal Sen. Barbara Feinstein is extremely critical of the Obama Administration on this. Based on what I've observed of the President he will say and do anything to get reelected. This is the most corrupt Administration over the last 75 years and the lack of intellectual honesty by the left and MSM is stunning!!

    June 10, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. annie s

    John McCain is a bitter, dried up old man who really needs to go quietly into the night already.

    June 10, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Rob

    Hey, if 'Barry' says it...you know it is a lie!

    June 10, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. jk

    The man who put Sarah Palin on the VP ticket has nothing to say ever again about presidential responsibility and credibility. He sold out to his party then, and he's selling out to his party now, and the actual welfare of this country has nothing to do with his calculation.

    June 10, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. Just Me

    Bitter old fart. Consider the source.

    June 10, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Rob

    Obviously CNN is a Liberal chat forum. All these comments are totally biased in favor of the Apoligizer in Chief. You deserve him for another term. Your economy will NEVER recover after that.

    June 10, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. tinykhan

    What a bitter old man. Yes, Obama is ultimately responsible...unless the investigation points to a member of congress...and if it happens to be a Republican...what then old man? Will your rhetoric be as vitriolic? "intelligence" in this country is a joke...you embed CNN crews into combat units during a war...the enemy just has to watch the news to know where you are, what city you are approaching, and your combat ability. I think it was a foregone conclusion the USA put those viruses in Iran, duh...only one other country would consider it, so that is news? Increasing drone attacks is really news? Wow, Pakistan tells us when the bombs hit, and I think people can surmise on their own they are increasing by the number of news reports...don't need a "deep throat" to tell us the obvious. We run stories all the time on "America's most vulnerable terrorist possibilities", giving them ideas to poison the water supply...aka Afghanistan standard procedure now for girls schools, we list the least protected nuclear facilities, municipal powerplants etc etc...you really think terrorists need to be smart? WE do the work for them!!!! And quite frankly, to the people in the press, NO NO NO...the people do NOT have the right to know everything...you are the cause of all of this.

    June 10, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Dave

    Republicans desperate attempts to discredit Obama. Shame on McCain, I thought he was above this sort of trivial partisan politics.

    June 10, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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