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McCain, Chambliss call for investigations into U.S. security leaks

Senate Republicans are calling for an investigation into the recent leaks of classified information on U.S. intelligence operations.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is among the GOP lawmakers and is accused the White House of leaking sensitive details on covert missions.

He said the sensitive details were leaked, then reported in the New York Times to “paint a portrait of the president of the United States as a strong leader on national security issues.”

McCain, a 2008 presidential candidate, said committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., had agreed hold hearings on the issue.

GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, joined McCain on the Senate floor Tuesday in urging for an investigation.

“With each leak, our allies are left to wonder how much they can trust us with their secrets,” said Chambliss, R-Ga. “Some in the administration have decided that scoring political points in an election year outweighs intelligence operations.”

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and other congressional Democrats also have expressed concerns about the leaks.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday defended the administration’s effort to protect national security secrets.

“Our interest is always in protecting sensitive information, protecting classified information, because it’s important for our national security,” he said.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the FBI is already investigating the leaking of information about a classified U.S. cyber program that The Times reported was to derail Iran’s nuclear program, based on two anonymous sources.