Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., caused a splash yesterday when she told the World Affairs Council that the Obama administration has been definitely been leaking national security secrets: “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks … I think they have to understand that and do something about it.” Republican Mitt Romney castigated the White House for this during a campaign stop in Reno, Nevada.
Today the senator’s office issued the following statement arguing that no, she was misunderstood (emphasis added):
I am disappointed by the statements made by Mr. Romney today regarding a question I was asked yesterday at the World Affairs Council.
I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks. I stated that I did not believe the president leaked classified information. 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. 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.
I know we are in a campaign season, but I hope the investigation proceeds without political accusation or interference from anyone.
Now, it is true that Feinstein did say she did not think that President Obama was authorizing the leaks himself, but that someone on his staff was doing it. But doesn’t the president still hold responsibility in that case? And how hard would it be for the administration to find out on its own who did it and can them? Surely only a small number of people had access to the information.