McCain drafting resolution to call for special counsel on security leaks

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is planning to introduce a Senate resolution calling for a special counsel to investigate a spate of recent national-security leaks.

McCain said in an interview Thursday evening with Fox News’s Sean Hannity that he intends to unveil a "sense of the Senate" resolution as early as Monday in order to press for a special counsel to investigate the leaks from recent stories about a U.S. cyberattack on Iran, a “kill list,” an underwear bomber and more.

“There are some of us who will be seeking a resolution, sense of the Senate calling for the appointment of a special counsel,” McCain said. “I hope maybe as early as Monday.”

The FBI launched an investigation into the leaks this week, but the White House on Thursday rejected the need for a special counsel.

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“This is something that the president insists, that his administration take all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks of classified information or sensitive information that could risk our counterterrorism operations,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

McCain’s resolution would be non-binding, but it could pose political problems for Democrats and the White House if it were to come to a vote, a move that McCain and his aides have not yet indicated whether they are seeking.

Democrats have joined Republicans in expressing outrage over the leaks — highlighted by a press conference Thursday with the four heads of the House and Senate Intelligence committees — but Republicans are leading the charge for a special counsel to investigate.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she didn’t know yet whether she supported a special prosecutor, and other Democrats have not signed onto the plan, either.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Thursday that the Justice Department’s national-security division was recusing itself from investigating part of the case because of the potential that the source of the leaks came from the department.

“You’re going to have to have at least some sort of outside look because of the nature [of the leaks],” Rogers said.

McCain has also accused the White House of leaking information for political gain to boost President Obama’s image in an election year, a charge that Carney called “grossly irresponsible” on Wednesday.

Democrats in Congress have rejected McCain’s accusations, but the Arizona senator has stood by them as other Republicans have joined him this week.

In the Hannity appearance on Thursday, he questioned why the White House was rejecting the special counsel.

“Suppose nothing came out of the White House. Let's just suppose that,” McCain said. “Why wouldn't the administration want a special counsel to investigate this because of the gravity and the size of this compromise of national security?”