McCain: Security Leaks Came from ‘Highest Levels of White House’

National Journal

A day after accusing the White House of trying to burnish its image with recent stories about a secret kill list for terrorists and efforts to use cyberattacks against Iran, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., continued his attacks on Wednesday, saying the leaks came from “the highest levels of the White House.”

Appearing on CBS’s This Morning, McCain, the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the administration should not have confirmed facts for reporters. “All they had to do was say, this is classified information and we won't discuss it.”

“This is the most highly classified information and has now been leaked by the administration at the highest levels of the White House. That's not acceptable,” he said, adding that, “Look, this puts American lives in danger, revealing our most highly classified operations, both in cyberwar and in drones. That's just a fact.”

McCain on Tuesday called the leaks “an intentional breach” that were meant to “paint a portrait of the President of the United States as a strong leader on national security issues.”

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Carl Levin, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the panel would hold hearings to investigate leaks “pertaining to recent public reports of classified information.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney denied the Iran cyberattack story, first published by The New York Times, was the result of an intentional leak. The Times also broke the story about the secret terror "kill list."

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