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McCain leads lawmaker fury over classified data leaks

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WASHINGTON — The White House helped touch off a row with John McCain Wednesday after it said the senior Senate Republican was “grossly irresponsible” for accusing top members of the Obama administration of leaking classified information.

McCain, Barack Obama’s rival in the 2008 presidential contest, had blasted the White House on the Senate floor and then on national television for the data leaks about ongoing national security operations.

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He said the leaks were expressly aimed at boosting Obama’s image as being tough on Iran and extremist networks, but could end up putting American lives in danger.

McCain had pointed in particular to leaks about three operations: Obama’s push for cyber attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s nuclear facilities; an apparent “kill list” of counterterrorism targets against whom Obama has authorized lethal action; and a secret drone campaign against terrorists in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.

The three programs were reported on in recent weeks by The New York Times, which said many of the articles’ sources were former or current administration officials.

“Such disclosures can only undermine similar ongoing or future operations and, in this sense, compromise national security. For this reason, regardless of how politically useful these leaks may be to the president, they have to stop,” McCain said in the Senate on Tuesday.

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White House spokesman Jay Carney took issue with McCain’s characterization of the breaches as administration leaks, saying the White House “takes all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks” of classified or sensitive information that could risk ongoing operations.

“Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible,” Carney told reporters.

McCain immediately countered. “No, what is grossly irresponsible is US officials divulging some of the most highly classified programs involving the most important national security priorities facing our nation today.”

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“Laws have apparently been broken,” McCain said, adding that he has called for appointment of a special counsel to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the leaks.

An aide to Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Levin has decided to hold a hearing on the matter.

Several lawmakers have joined a chorus of condemnation over the leaks, including Democrat Dianne Feinstein who chairs the Select Committee on Intelligence.

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“The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable,” she said in a statement.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

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The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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