President Obama said he would "root out" individuals responsibile for leaking classified information out of his office, adding that leakers could face criminal charges.
"Since I've been in office my attitude has been zero tolerance for these kind of leaks and speculation," Obama said. "If we can root out people who have leaked, they will suffer consequences. In some cases, it's criminal."
Obama also responded to the Republicans (most notably Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.) who have suggested that his administration officials have leaked classified information in order to help the president politically.
"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive," the president said. "It's wrong and people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how people here around me approach this office."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made the same argument when pushing the legislation last fall. "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it's the public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers, and that's what this legislation is all about," he said in October.