Two top figures in the US Senate — a Republican and a Democrat — have now spoken out publicly in frustration with continued leaks out of the Obama administration of “the most highly classified information.” John McCain spoke to CBS News and got a rather skeptical reaction from the host, who quoted the New York Times’ David Sanger as saying the leaks didn’t start at the White House. McCain insists that the White House confirmed information that exposed ongoing operations — and did so to make Barack Obama look good:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday blasted the Obama administration over the disclosure of classified intelligence operations, leaks he said came from the “highest levels” at the White House.
“This is the most highly classified information and it’s now been leaked by the administration at the highest levels at the White House and that’s not acceptable,” McCain said on CBS This Morning. …
McCain suggested that the administration was leaking the information, which he called a “breach of national security” to bolster Obama’s foreign policy credentials ahead of November’s election.
“It makes the president look very decisive,” McCain said, “and it gives very little credit to the other men and women who make these things happen.”
“This puts American lives in danger, revealing our most highly classified operations both in cyberwar and in drones,” he said.
While CBS News treated McCain’s allegations with skepticism, Dianne Feinstein seconded McCain’s concerns about the leaks, if not the origins:
The Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday expressed worry that leaks to press about a cyberattack on Iran authorized by the Obama administration could lead to a counter-attack on the U.S.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined other senior Senate Democrats in expressing serious concerns about the leak, which detailed a cyberattack intended to harm Iran’s nuclear program. Some Republicans argue the information was leaked to help President Obama’s re-election campaign. …
“A number of those leaks, and others in the last months about drone activities and other activities are frankly all against national security interests,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. “I think they’re dangerous, damaging, and whoever is doing that is not acting in the interest of the United States of America.”
Feinstein and Kerry, however, rejected Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) charge that the leaks were politically motivated to boost President Obama’s image.
Well, where would that information have leaked — and more importantly, been confirmed? Even Sanger notes that he got confirmation from “current US officials,” and the nature of the story certainly played up Obama’s personal role in the decisions, even when he didn’t make the decisions himself. The spin in Sanger’s story either came from Sanger himself or his sources, and I’d bet that McCain’s closer to the mark than Feinstein, Kerry, and CBS News in this case.