Policy & Strategy

McCain, White House clash over ‘grossly irresponsible’ national security leaks

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) went off on the White House
Wednesday after press secretary Jay Carney said it was “grossly irresponsible”
to accuse the Obama administration of using recent national security leaks for
political gain.

“Any suggestion that this administration has authorized
intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly
irresponsible,” Carney told reporters en route to California on Wednesday when
asked about McCain’s comments.

{mosads}McCain, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, responded
Wednesday with a lengthy statement using Carney’s “grossly irresponsible”
line four times against the Obama administration as he repeated his accusations about the national security

“The White House today claimed that my criticism of the administration’s
involvement in, and culpability for, leaks of sensitive and classified
information is ‘grossly irresponsible,’ ” McCain said. “No, what is grossly irresponsible is U.S. officials divulging some of the most
highly classified programs involving the most important national security
priorities facing our nation today,” he said.

McCain and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss
(R-Ga.) called for appointment of a special counsel to investigate leaks of
recent stories in The New York Times that detailed U.S. cyberattacks on Iran
and a terrorist “kill list.”

McCain also said Tuesday that Senate Armed Services Chairman
Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has agreed to hold hearings on the national security

On Wednesday morning, McCain upped the ante on his charges when
he said on “CBS This Morning” that the leaks came
“the highest levels at the White House.”

There were also reports Tuesday that the FBI has opened an
investigation into the Iran cyberattack leak.

The White House has denied that any of the recent leaks were
authorized, but Carney’s comments Wednesday were the strongest rebuttal yet of
the charges that McCain has made since the Times story was published Friday.

Democrats have raised
about the leaks as well, but they have rejected McCain’s charges that politics
were involved with the disclosures.

Tags Carl Levin John McCain Saxby Chambliss

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