White House's top secret scandal?
Sen. John McCain pushing for probe into intelligence leaks
- Duration 8:49
- Date Jun 7, 2012
Sen. John McCain pushing for probe into intelligence leaks
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
And tonight a major scandal threatens the very future of the Obama administration as a senior United States senator is now accusing the White House.
Of leaking classified information Arizona Senator John McCain says that members of the president's own staff.
Have leak sensitive national security secrets to media outlets.
Now on numerous occasions now what makes matters worse he argues that the goal of these targeted leaks.
Was to depict president Barack Obama as a strong commander in chief ahead of the November election.
Now there are at least three specific examples of articles -- which sensitive data was in fact discussed by unnamed administration officials including the following.
Information involving the use of drones in Yemen.
Classified details regarding the so called Obama -- kill list.
And a highly secretive cyber warfare program that the US is implementing against -- -- nuclear program.
The release of this information in these chart -- course.
Harms our national security.
And -- in danger the lives.
Of the men and women who are sworn to protect it regardless of how politically useful these leaks may have been to the present and they have to stop these leaks have to stop.
-- -- number Democrats happen to agree with the senator including the chairman of the armed services committee Carl Levin who has agreed to open hearings on the matter.
And California liberal Dianne Feinstein has called this quote.
Avalanche of leaks very very disturbing still the White House is denying all these accusations.
And is called senator McCain's comments quote grossly irresponsible.
He had to respond to this growing controversy the man himself.
Senator John McCain from the great state of Arizona senator welcome back good to see.
Thank you -- about what we're not talking about a small allegation here.
We -- talking about releasing highly sensitive information that could put people's lives in jeopardy.
And you're saying for the benefit.
Of the president's reelection.
Tell us more.
I'm well what I'm saying is that.
These are the leaks concerning to the most highly classified ongoing operations.
Are vital to to our national security the drones.
Which as you know are attacking targets of al-Qaeda.
-- is in Pakistan and Yemen and other parts.
The Middle East and we're also talking about the cyber attacks which are now public that we went after the Iranian.
Nuclear buildup ongoing.
And by the way I've talked -- -- some of our allies today they are beside themselves.
With -- anger because.
This exposure of these programs that are working with us -- have to ask yourself whenever these leaks take place.
Who benefits who benefits from it.
And when you look at the book that they are excerpted from they -- go serve to make the president they steadfast steely -- sitting in.
In the Oval Office deciding who lives and who guys who this -- actually always have to ask yourself that question then it in the book.
They it's very clear.
That the and the -- says that some of the people that gave him information did so anonymously because they knew that they would be fired.
So if it's all it's all very clear.
Well the kill us in particular you've -- we got to go to that criteria of who benefits here.
It wasn't the president on a weekly basis was informed of who specifically was on the list and quote he made the decision.
So where else could possibly come from if in fact it is true.
Well and no one -- first -- the administration has not denied it.
Second of all that they've been very strong and going after low level officials.
That have leaked.
Classified information I mean more than any other.
We've asked for a special counsel.
The Justice Department and the White House have rejected that out of hand.
-- Director of National Intelligence says this is the most egregious breach that he has seen in the thirty years that he's been.
Involved in this kind of work and he's right this is egregious.
You know it when you think back and we make a comparison member of Valerie Plame and the issue quote she was outed as a CIA operative when in fact.
She was not a Covert -- she she you know was still her job was well known within Washington ranks there was no big surprise.
And we know what happened as a result of that there was great indignation expressed by the Democrats in your estimation is this a bigger scandal.
And what do you think -- -- a couple of that's.
Well -- FAA cannot do expect.
Valerie Plame it's this situation -- -- regrettable.
But I still don't know any have any national security operations.
Covert operations that word.
Disclose store compromised by that.
Obviously we don't want that to happen but we are talking about two of the most important programs that this nation has been involved in and if they think -- They shouldn't be there.
Have been -- it's okay if they were being revealed and find the president can declassify them instead there was selective leaks to.
The author of the book which obviously paints those who did the leaking in a very favorable light and look that's why we need an investigation suppose nothing came out of the White House such -- suppose that why wouldn't.
The administration won a special counsel to invest.
-- actually gave this because of the gravity and the size of this compromise of national security.
Hear what what's talk about -- how deeply does this harm national security and explain in some detail how this.
Specifically can affect the lives of of brave men and women that are dedicated to serving.
Well first well in the case of this cyber attacks of course now the Iranians are much more aware.
-- so by the way.
Doesn't this give our enemies license to respond in kind now that it is.
This is an ongoing operation in partnership according to the book with the Israelis how do you think the Israelis feel right now.
And so it's it's -- I'm very very serious breach as far as a drones are concerned obviously.
We know that.
These the compromising.
Specific information concerning the drones.
Is also a compromise and -- that question then why did they have it's classified.
As -- -- most secret.
I let me let me ask you this as well as you especially as we move forward in in all of this.
Hearings -- one thing a special prosecutor is another thing.
Do you think that the Democrats will politicize this if in fact they are investigating it or -- they allow congress to investigate this.
Make the case for special counsel.
You'll find out very soon because there are some of us who will be seeking a resolution.
A sense of the senate calling for the appointment of a special counsel so you'll be able to find out I hope maybe as early as Monday.
All right the -- 11 last question as we move forward here.
As a relates do you really believe that the president and his campaign team would be willing to compromise.
The security and safety.
Of brave men and women to make themselves look good ahead of the 2012.
Election campaign because that's really what we're talking about here.
To make him look great.
And leak this information.
That we should never leaked to our enemies -- think they would do that to win and what -- what impact would that have on the political race.
I don't want I don't know the -- the impact but let me just give you one anecdote that is written about in this book as you know.
A lot of information was given immediately the American people after we took out Osama bin Laden.
Including the name of -- to seal team six and others.
Now in the book it tells about didn't secretary of defense gates going to the White House and saying to the president's national security.
-- -- Who had been involved along with mr.
Brennan not counterterrorism expert in the White House.
Been giving out -- information he says I've got a new communications strategy.
downs and what is that we should shut the F.
-- they're pretty much sums it up.
This is I think this -- has the potential to be a very big issue in the campaign senator I'm glad -- -- -- there's a lot of people put their lives on the line for us and they need to be protected.
And we cannot politicize national security.
We're gonna continue to watch this very very closely thank you for -- works.