John McCain's crusade against the Obama administration continued on Thursday, as he kept hammering the White House over a series of recent leaks to the New York Times which he thinks came from inside the Oval Office.
A storm has been increasing on Capitol Hill all week over two stories in the Times, which revealed top-secret details about President Obama's so-called "kill list" and the administration's cyber-attacks against Iran. Republicans --starting with McCain, who set the controversy in motion on Tuesday -- have said that the leaks are so detailed and flattering to the White House that they must have been authorized. Democrats have dismissed that assertion, but have nevertheless denounced the leaks. On Thursday, a bipartisan group of legislators vowed to crack down.
The Times has denied that it was the recipient of leaks, saying that the scoops were the result of dogged reporting.
"I reject the notion that they were leaks," Times managing editor Dean Baquet told HuffPost's Michael Calderone on Thursday. Baquet said that the idea that "someone in the White House called up and said, 'Let me give you something that makes the president look good" was not true.
McCain fanned out across the media on Thursday night, appearing on both Sean Hannity and Anderson Cooper's shows to press his case and to call for a special prosecutor to investigate the leaks.
"I talked to some of our allies today," he told Hannity. "They are beside themselves with anger."
McCain said that the leaks "all serve to make the president steadfast and steely-eyed." Speaking to Cooper, he was even more direct.
"I think it's very clear that these leaks came from the White House, people within the White House itself," he said. "These people are very politically oriented."
"Do you believe that they are authorized by the president, by his inner circle?" Cooper asked.
"I have no idea," McCain said. "But I don't think there's any doubt that this is one of the most egregious breaches of national security in recent memory."
Cooper and Hannity both weighed in with differing angles on the controversy.
"It is kind of perplexing because on the one hand the Obama administration has gone after low-level leakers, whistleblowers, who have released information, I guess, that doesn't portray the administration well, or that they are upset about, and yet there have been a number of high-level leaks," Cooper said.
Hannity was more campaign-oriented in his thoughts.
"I think this has the potential to be a very big issue in the campaign, he said, adding rather ironically, "we cannot politicize national security."
Watch the Hannity video above, and the Cooper video below.
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