Jul 24, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
LONDON — In a high-profile speech Tuesday, Mitt Romney will accuse President Barack Obama’s administration of leaking classified national security information to benefit the president politically.
According to excerpts of a speech Romney will deliver at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nev., the presumptive Republican nominee will cite complaints—including from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat—that Obama White House aides have been leaking details on classified operations to the media to help their boss.
“This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a national security crisis,” Romney will say, according to speech excerpts provided by his campaign. “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.”
The Republican candidate will argue that it’s “not enough to say the matter is being looked into” and will call it “unacceptable” to delay an investigation until after Election Day. The Department of Justice has appointed two lawyers to investigate the matter, and Congress is making independent inquiries.
Romney’s speech comes on the eve of a major overseas trip aimed at bolstering the presumptive GOP nominee’s foreign policy credentials. On Wednesday Romney heads to London, where he’ll meet with several foreign officials, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and attend the opening of the summer Olympic Games. He then heads to Israel, where he’s set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and deliver a speech on Middle East policy. Romney will end his trip in Poland, where he’s expected to talk about America’s relationship with Russia.
In Reno, Romney will use his VFW speech to press the argument that Obama has exhibited weak leadership with America’s overseas allies. He’ll also give voice to conservative criticism that Obama has too often apologized for America. While Romney won’t quite say that in his speech Tuesday, the implication is obvious.
“I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of this country. I am not ashamed of American power. I take pride that throughout history our power has brought justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict, and hope where there was affliction and despair,” Romney will tell VFW members. “I do not view America as just one more point on the strategic map, one more power to be balanced. I believe our country is the greatest force for good the world has ever known, and that our influence is needed as much now as ever.”
Romney will say the upcoming century must be an “American century,” arguing that if the country doesn’t lead, “other powers will take our place, pulling history in a different direction.”
He’ll accuse Obama of enacting defense cuts that would “impair our ability to meet and deter threats”—and he’ll imply Obama’s decision-making about the military is driven by politics.
“Don’t bother trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of this, unless that rationale is wishful thinking,” Romney will say. “Strategy is not driving President Obama’s massive defense cuts. In fact, his own secretary of Defense warned that these reductions would be “devastating.” And he is right.”
Excerpted from Defcon Hill: Mitt Romney will attack President Obama over a recent series of intelligence leaks, accusing the leakers of trying to help the White House politically and charging Obama with trying to push the issue off until after the election.
“It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into, and leave it at that,” Romney will say at a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention Tuesday, 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.’ ”
Republicans have blasted the White House and Justice Department over the national security leaks, including reports on a U.S. cyberattack on Iran and a double agent in Yemen infiltrating al Qaeda.
Republicans in Congress have called for a special counsel to investigate the leaks, accusing Attorney General Eric Holder of being unable to run an independent investigation, but Romney’s comments are the first time he has weighed in specifically on the controversy.
The presumptive GOP nominee said that Americans are “entitled to know” who was leaking the information, seizing on a remark from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Monday in which she said that some of the leaks came from the White House.
Feinstein’s remarks are at odds with statements last month from Obama, who denied that the White House was responsible. At the time, Obama said, “The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive. It’s wrong.”
Romney, meanwhile, will say, “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.”