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. sally27

    In reply to thinkagain.
    You are describing the democratic and Obama..

    June 10, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. James PDX

    You can either believe everything our politicians say, or none of it. There's no possible way to tell when people this dishonest are actually telling the truth. But America will continue to elect from these two ethically challenged pools because we don't appear to be smart enough to do otherwise.

    June 10, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Tony

    I applaud McCain for his exceptional service to his country – but as a politician he's a handicap to the Republican movement. The major issue is why is Holder in charge of finding out WHO is responsible. HOW can his department be impartial. What a total Orwellian cover up!!!

    June 10, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. bob

    Word has it the leak came from a Top GOP Member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Only the top four members in both the House & the Senate besides the President and his Security Advisor are the only ones who sees this intelligence.

    June 10, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. michael in michigan

    Look at you fools... You're only goal is to defeat the President... How much could have been accomplished if you would have given our elected leader the support he needed from the beginning? "We have no plan, except to get the n****er out of the White House. Government has no business telling people what to do, but gays can't marry and women should have no control over their own health."

    June 10, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Juice

    McCain has become pathetic. I remember when he used to stand up for what he believed in whether or not it was inside or outside the republican establishment. Now he is a yes sir type doing whatever he is asked and believes whatever he is told. The republicans are trying to drive this country off a cliff. Not sure I can ever vote in that direction again. Not sure if I'll vote democratic but am sick of the republican games. Do they really think were that stupid?

    June 10, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Bob

    If there was a Republican in office, the Democrats would be saying the same thing. American has become a land divided. We are no longer in it for the good of America and each other. The charge is led by politicians, local, state and federal. John, you are at the bottom of the barrel, creating a fine example for the continued decline of our great country. Working together brings positive change, ripping at our values leads to decline.

    June 10, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Sam Barber

    There has been a four year blitz by the vast right-wing conspiracy (and yes, there is one now) to nay-say, say-act, nay-ANYTHING associated with Obama. These traitors have put party and politics above the success of this country. Why should they act differently when the election is drawing closer? As for John Fossil McCain, this is his last term in the Senate, thank God.

    June 10, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. REG in AZ

    McCain only makes matters worse as he, and so many others like him, use everything for political purposes and really could care less about what the truth is. Let's see what real information the investigations provide and then there will be time enough for evaluations and comments. Politics is bad enough all of the time but during election years it really goes to hell.

    June 10, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. wonder1

    its sad when the people who put obama in office, still can't see what this man is doing to this country.the only reason there for obama is the color of his skin.obama is a wantabe tv star just like his wife.

    June 10, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. bill

    McCain just does not get it, no one is listening to him. His best bet is to get a job at Fox news so he can be on every day. He loves the camera.

    June 10, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. The Choobs

    McCain is right, and yet his time in office needs to be done. Same with Holder...Obama needs to grow a pair and dump this guy. And... Both parties leak, the Bush admin outed a CIA agent for gosh sakes, and we should investigate...but it's not a career ending situation for the president, nor should hyperbole raise it to that level.

    June 10, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    @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.

    Really? Try listening to something other than Fox or actually doing some research. This from the New York Post, not exactly a left-wing rag:

    “In some cases, these are criminal acts,” he [Obama] said at the White House. “We have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences.”

    The outrage over a glut of leaks focuses on a detailed Times article that laid out the process by which he decides which al Qaeda operatives to target in a “kill list.”

    “The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive,” Obama said. “It’s wrong.”

    Do yourself a favor, Rob, and quit being a GOP tool.

    June 10, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Phaedrus

    Where's the proof, McCain? With the Republican record of leaking classified information, I would shut my pie hole if I were you.

    By the way... Isn't the Republican obstructionism tactics used in Congress over the last three years borderline treason? Republicans have done untold damage to this country by serving the party and NOT the country. Treason...

    June 10, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |

    Doofus lying again.

    June 10, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. suzy

    This edition of State of the Union has to be one of the worst in the history of the show, pandering sound bites.... pathetic....

    June 10, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    @sally27: "In reply to thinkagain. You are describing the democratic and Obama."

    Really? The GOP has historically crashed our economy, and the Democrats clean up the mess. 9/11 happened on GW Bush's watch; President Obama gave the order to take out bin Laden. Clinton left a surplus; GW Bush evaporated it with two unfunded wars and irresponsible tax cuts during wartime (never done in our nation's history).

    You can type your Fox talking points all day long, but it won't change the FACT that our country fairs better under Democratic administrations than Republican ones.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 10, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. ST

    Americans are very smart people who didn't pick MacCain to be president. Imagine the decisions he could have made, depending on using his head and having Sarah Palin as his closest adviser!

    June 10, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Brian Smith

    LOL...Yes, McCain is absolutely correct. The leaks are Obama's fault because Obama is clearly a straight arrow HONEST individual running a truthful and transparent administration, and McCain is a lying, dishonest, self-centered, war hawk, backstabbing representative of the republican military industrial machine.

    June 10, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. LakeRat1

    ThinkAgain, I think you are correct. Also, it is totally BIZARRE that the Repubs, in their rants against pres Obama and Holder, choose to be represented by Darryl Issa. Talk about issues! That man has no business being anywhere near a governing body, much less chairing a committee to throw stones at people.

    June 10, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. TM

    Of course we all remember how McCain held Bush responsible when Valerie Plame was outed by Cheney's Chief of Staff Scoter Libby. Oh, wait....

    June 10, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. oddjob2234

    It's a good thing this guy wasn't made president. He has got to be the weakest candidate put forward by either party in a generation.

    June 10, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. mikle

    No, mr. McCain, Obama not responsible for it. It's Bush. Obama never resp. for anything. It's Bush, Evro..,tsunami, ATM, and somebody else.

    June 10, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Sue

    The accusations and demands for an investigation, are not just coming from the Republicans!! And, kudos to McCain for making sure that this issue definitely gets the attention it deserves......Obama or someone in his Administration is leaking national security information.....What is it about this that libs cannot see/understand!! And the Republicans need to DEMAND that an outside source investigate this--not someone that Holder appoints!! Holder, the person responsible for "fast and furious"-and they are going to put him in charge of this investigation?? Only 5 more months-and Obama will be kicked out of the White House!!

    June 10, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Hindsight 20/20

    McCain is responsible for unleashing Palin on us. Worst than these leaks.

    June 10, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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