U.S. senator John McCain accused Barack Obama's administration of leaking the report of Obama's approval of cyber-attacks against Iran in a bid for pre-election glory.
The New York Times reported on Friday that cyber-attacks employing a malicious computer code developed with Israel were part of a U.S. plan against Iran code-named Olympic Games. The report added that the operation was approved during the rule of Obama's predecessor and was later accelerated by the current president.
AFP reports that McCain spoke to reporters in Singapore, where he was attending a conference on Asian security, saying: "Again we see these leaks to the media about ongoing operations, which is incredibly disturbing. Doesn't this give some benefit to our adversaries?"
McCain also pointed to previous leaks that revealed details of last year's U.S. raid that led to the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
McCain, who is the most senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said: "We know the leaks have to come from the administration. And so we're at the point where perhaps we need an investigation. So this is kind of a pattern in order to hype the national security credentials of the president, and every administration does it. But I think this administration has taken it to a new level."
McCain allowed that the president has the authority to carry out such operations but he said most presidents would discuss them with a "select few leaders of Congress."
McCain said the White House did not brief U.S. lawmakers about the cyber-attacks.
The New York Times report was based on interviews with current and former U.S., European and Israeli officials and was adapted from David Sanger's book, which will be published next week, titled: "Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power."
The launch of Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr was delayed in 2010 by the Stuxnet virus, and most recently, the Russian-based Kaspersky Lab discovered the virus "Flame", which reportedly has been wreaking havoc in Iranian computer systems.