Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney plans to deliver a biting attack on national security leaks in President Barack Obama’s administration in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference in Reno, Nevada today.
“It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into, and leave it at that,” Romney will say according to excerpts released by the campaign. “When the issue is the political use of highly sensitive national security information, it is unacceptable to say, “We’ll report our findings after Election Day.”
There are currently two separate FBI investigations into the leaks, which dealt with U.S. efforts to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and the revelation of the identity of a Saudi double agent involved in an undercover operation in Yemen.
“Whoever provided classified information to the media, seeking political advantage for the administration, must be exposed, dismissed, and punished,” Romney will say. “The time for stonewalling is over.”
The leak investigations provide the easiest angle for Romney to attack Obama’s foreign policy — which, in practice, has largely been an extension of Bush-era plans.
It is reported that Bob Gates, the President’s first secretary of defense, bluntly addressed another security problem within this administration. After secret operational details of the bin Laden raid were given to reporters, Secretary Gates walked into the West Wing and told the Obama team to “shut up.” He added a colorful word for emphasis.
Lives of American servicemen were at stake. But astonishingly, the administration failed to change its ways. More top-secret operations were leaked, even some involving covert action in Iran.
This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s a national security crisis. And yesterday, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, quote, “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.”
This conduct is contemptible. 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. The time for stonewalling is over.
It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into, and leave it at that. When the issue is the political use of highly sensitive national security information, it is unacceptable to say, “We’ll report our findings after Election Day.”
Exactly who in the White House betrayed these secrets? Did a superior authorize it? These are things that Americans are entitled to know – and they are entitled to know right now. 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.
And let me be clear: These events make the decision we face in November all the more important. What kind of White House would reveal classified material for political gain? I’ll tell you right now: Mine won’t.