California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein accused the White House of being behind national security information leaks on Monday, but then walked back her accusation on Tuesday after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney used her comments against President Barack Obama.
“I stated that I did not believe the president leaked classified information,” Feinstein said in a statement on her website Tuesday. “I shouldn’t have speculated beyond that, because the fact of the matter is I don’t know the source of the leaks.”
“I’m on record as being disturbed by these leaks, and I regret my remarks are being used to impugn President Obama or his commitment to protecting national security secrets,” Feinstein added. “I know for a fact the president is extremely troubled by these leaks. His administration has moved aggressively to appoint two independent U.S. attorneys. There is an investigation under way, and it is moving forward quickly.”
The Republican National Committee said that Feinstein got “Cory Bookered,” a reference to how Newark Mayor Cory Booker criticized Obama’s attacks on Romney’s work at Bain Capital as “nauseating,” than walked back his critique.
Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said at a Monday event, “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. I don’t know specifically where, but I think they have to begin to understand that and do something about it.”
After quoting Feinstein in a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nevada, Romney called the White House’s conduct during this leaks scandal “contemptible.”
“It betrays our national interest,” Romney said. “It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation by a special counsel, with explanation and consequence. Obama appointees, who are accountable to President Obama’s Attorney General, should not be responsible for investigating the leaks coming from the Obama White House.”
After Romney’s speech, Feinstein decided to walk her comments back.
Feinstein says she trusts two politically appointed U.S. attorneys, who serve at the pleasure of the president, to investigate the leaks. Ron Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, is an Obama appointee who has donated $4,350 to Obama’s campaigns over the years. Rod Rosenstein, Maryland’s U.S. Attorney, was a George W. Bush appointee.
A spokesman for Feinstein didn’t answer when The Daily Caller asked whether she still opposes an independent investigation into the leaks.