Two senior Republicans took to the Senate Floor Tuesday afternoon, deploying some spicy language to get their point across.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) used the occasion to co-introduce a resolution asking that an independent counsel be engaged to investigate national security leaks that appear to trace back to the White House. The leaks have become apparent after a succession of news articles detailing classified U.S. programs including cyberwarfare, drone strikes, and a White House “kill list.”
“I can’t think of any time that I have seen such breaches of ongoing national security programs as has been the case here,” McCain said. “The damage to our national security has been articulated by many both in and outside of the administration.”
Graham marveled at detailed accounts and descriptions of classified activities in a new book by New York Times reporter David Sanger, Confront and Conceal, which Graham said provided evidence that administration problems with information sharing dated back to the assassination of Osama bin Laden last year.
“In the book there’s a scenario where the Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates) goes to the National Security Adviser, Thomas Donilon, and says, ‘I have a new communications strategy for you regarding the bin Laden raid: Shut the “F” up,'” Graham said, using a letter to signify the obscenity.
Sen McCain repeated the quote, also censoring himself for CSPAN.
“Shut the ‘F’ up,” he said. “That is a devastating comment and leads one to the suspicion that things were done improperly in the revelation of these most important and sensitive programs that were being catried out and are ongoing to this day.”
Graham also pointed to letters written by then-senator Barack Obama in which he asked for the appointment of a special counsel to look into leaks that led to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, an incident that has been repeatedly compared to the current situation.
“All we’re asking for is what Sen. Obama…asked for in previous national security events and events involving corruption in the government,” he said.