Obama: Offensive and Wrong to Say White House Is Behind National Security Leaks

AP

President Barack Obama said it was “offensive” and “wrong” to say the White House is behind a recent spate of national security leaks to boost his political standing.

“The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive,” Obama told reporters Friday. “It’s wrong, and — people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office, and the people around me here approach this office.”

Two high-profile articles in the New York Times last week detailed the administration’s terrorist “kill list” and its efforts to use cyberattacks against Iran.

“When this information or reports, whether true or false, surface on the front page of newspapers, that makes the jobs of folks on the front lines tougher, and it makes my job tougher, which is why, since I’ve been in office, my attitude has been zero tolerance for these type of leaks and speculation,” Obama said.

He continued, “We have mechanisms in place where if we can root out folks who have leaked, they will suffer consequences…we will conduct thorough investigations as we have in the past.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed outrage by the leaks; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) earlier this week called them “an intentional breach” meant as a “broader administration effort to paint a portrait of the president of the United States as a strong leader on national security issues.”