Sens. McCain, Levin will hold hearings on national security leaks

McCain has accused the White House of using administration leaks of a U.S. cyberattack against Iran’s nuclear program to boost President Obama politically in his reelection campaign.

A story last week from The New York Times detailed U.S. and Israeli efforts to disrupt an Iranian nuclear facility with the Stuxnet virus, citing unnamed current and former U.S., Israeli and European officials.


“The only conceivable motive for such damaging and compromising leaks of classified information is that it makes the president look good,” McCain said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “They are merely gratuitous and utterly self-serving.”

McCain said that Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinListen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home House Democrats poised to set a dangerous precedent with president’s tax returns The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — White House to 'temporarily reinstate' Acosta's press pass after judge issues order | Graham to take over Judiciary panel | Hand recount for Florida Senate race MORE (D-Mich.) had agreed to hold hearings on the national security leaks.

Levin told reporters Tuesday that he, like other senior Democrats, had serious concerns about the leaks on the U.S. cyberattack, but he disagreed with McCain that there was a political calculation behind it.

“I just can’t believe that there’s a decision in any kind of a formal way to leak this kind of a thing,” Levin said.

McCain and Chambliss took to the floor Tuesday afternoon for a colloquy about the leaks, taking issue with the Iranian cyber story as well as recent reports on expanded drone operations in Yemen and a “kill list.”

Chambliss asked McCain if he could remember a time in which national security leak were as prominent as they were with the Obama administration.

“With the leaks that these articles were based on, our enemies now know much more than they even did the day before they came out about important aspects of the nation's unconventional offensive capability and how we use them,” McCain said.

McCain took particular issue with a detail in the Times story on the administration’s “kill list” where Obama’s current senior campaign adviser David Axelrod was in meetings about the list.