McCain Says Obama Ultimately ‘Responsible’ for National Security Leaks

U.S. Sen. John McCain.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Considering the president's double-digit lead over Mitt Romney on national security issues, the recent spate of leaks should really have the Obama reelection campaign and the White House, which maintains it is not the source, seriously worried. Republicans, for one, are not backing down on the issue, with Senator John McCain leading the charge with an appearance on CNN's State of the Union, where he insisted that Obama was ultimately responsible for the breach.

I have no idea whether the president knew ... The president may not have done it himself, but the president is certainly responsible as the commander in chief.

And what little action the administration has taken, McCain continued — such as a U.S. Attorney–led investigation — is just not going to cut it. What's needed, he contends, is an independent outside counsel. After all, consider Attorney General Eric Holder's "credibility with Congress, there is none."

Interesting that so far the Romney campaign has stayed away from the situation, likely waiting until a clear media narrative (or guilty party) comes forward. But Romney's spokeswoman's statement to The Hill hints at a possible attack on Obama's leadership down the line.

[Romney] believes leaks risk our national security and must stop. Leadership starts at the top. It’s his sincere hope that the president is using all means at his disposal to put an end to this harmful practice.

But it's not only Republicans who are seeing red. Diane Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is quoted saying that, "This has to stop. When people say they don't want to work with the United States because they can't trust us to keep a secret, that's serious."

But neither is the Obama campaign sitting still in all this. Today, it sent senior campaign adviser David Axelrod to speak with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos:

I can’t say that there weren’t leaks. There were obvious leaks, but they weren’t from the White House.

David Sanger, for one, isn't about to reveal any names — or whether his sources work in a certain big, white mansion. As the New York Times' chief Washington correspondent, he reported on the U.S.'s cyber-attacks directed against Iran's nuclear program. To date, none of the other reporters have offered to break their journalistic code and freely give up anonymous sources. So it seems that until someone else feels like leaking the names of the government's leaky faucets, this will remain one of the summer's hot-button topics.