The Washington Times - June 5, 2012, 05:20PM

The Senate will hold hearings to investigate the Obama administration’s recent leaks of information on secret national security programs, Sen. John McCain said Tuesday as he accused the White House of doling out the information for political purposes in an election year.

Mr. McCain said he asked and got agreement from Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, to hold the hearings — raising the possibility of Democrats questioning President Obama’s own advisors over the propriety of the leaks.

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Mr. McCain also called for a special counsel to be named to investigate the leaks, and asked for prosecutions where appropriate.

“These leaks have to stop,” Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, said on the Senate floor.

He listed a number of recent articles and a new book that detail Mr. Obama’s personal involvement in the war on terror, including a New York Times report that he signs off on every individual on a so-called “kill list” for terrorists and another report that detailed efforts to expand the U.S. drone attack program.

Mr. McCain said the administration has doggedly pursued leaks by members of the military and intelligence services, but has ignored the leaks coming out of its own political appointees.

And he said there’s a distinction — some of those other leaks concerned potentially illegal activity or abuses of authority, while he said the current leaks by the administration appear designed to further the administration’s political goals.

“I don’t know how you could draw any conclusion but senior members of this administration … have either leaked or confirmed information of a most highly classified and sensitive nature,” Mr. McCain said.