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Sen. McCain: Americans should be 'deeply disturbed' over intelligence leaks

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that Americans should be "deeply disturbed" over recent leaks detailing administration actions on drone and special forces strikes and said the appointment of two U.S. attorneys to investigate the matter was not sufficient.

"It certainly is egregious what has already happened, what has been made public. It's very clear that this information had to come from this administration, it couldn't have come from anywhere else. Americans should be deeply disturbed," McCain told CNN's "State of the Union."

McCain said that indications the leaks may have come from someone within the administration necessitated the appointment of an outside investigator, as had been done when former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity was revealed. McCain said Attorney General Eric Holder had "no credibility" with Congress, and suggested instead former Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) be appointed to investigate the matter.

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"This needs a special counsel, someone entirely independent of the Justice Department," McCain said.

The Arizona lawmaker also looked to rebut President Obama's comment Friday that it was "offensive" to suggest the leaks were made to score political points.

"Well I think it's offensive what has happened. it's offensive to the people who are doing the incredibly difficult work of intelligence. It's offensive to our allies who are upset… So this is very offensive," McCain said.

He also said that while he has "no idea whether the president knew or did not know" about the leaks, he was ultimately responsible.



"It's obvious on its face that this information came from individuals in his administration. The president may not have done it himself, but he's ultimately responsible as commander in chief," McCain said.

In the interview, McCain also doubled down on his call to intervene in the conflict in Syria.

"These people ought to be able to defend themselves… This cries out for American leadership, and American leadership in this president is missing in action," McCain said.

The former Republican presidential nominee, who has become a top surrogate for 2012 hopeful Mitt Romney, also defended the Republican candidate's assertion that the "message" of the failed recall election in Wisconsin was that Americans didn't want an expansion of public sector jobs. The Obama campaign has seized on the comments to argue Romney is against hiring more teachers and emergency responders.

"I think they want an adequate amount to fulfill their public service requirements, we all depend on them and love and respect them. But we all know there is a significant problem with the unions and pensions," McCain said.


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