Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called for the investigation into recent national security leaks suspected to be coming from the White House be released before Election Day during his speech to the VFW Tuesday.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman, suggested Monday that the national security leaks were coming from the White House, although she mentioned that she did not think the source was President Barack Obama himself.
“I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks,” she said before the World Affairs Council.
Romney used Feinstein’s remarks as a springboard Tuesday, calling the leaks “a national security crisis” — identifying Feinstein’s remarks as proof that his and other Republican concern into the matter is not “a partisan issue” — and asserted that the Obama administration was releasing classified material “for political gain.”
“If the president believes — as he said last week — that the buck stops with him, then he owes all Americans a full and prompt accounting of the facts,” he said, stating that it was not enough for the Obama administration to wait until after Election Day to reveal the results of its investigation.
Ron Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for Maryland, are investigating the leaks.
Sources with knowledge of the campaign said that Romney camp is expected to make national security a central part of his campaign message. Tuesday’s speech was seen as Romney’s first major national security salvo against the Obama campaign.
“This conduct is contemptible,” said Romney. “It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation, with explanation and consequence.”
“Whoever provided classified information to the media, seeking political advantage for the administration, must be exposed, dismissed, and punished,” said Romney, stating that “the time for stonewalling is over.”
Feinstein, on the other hand, did not appreciate her remarks being co-opted by the Romney campaign.
In a statement on her website following Romney’s speech, Feinstein said that she regrets her remarks were being used to “impugn President Obama or his commitment to protecting national security secrets.”