Romney Obama Leaks

(CNN) -- Mitt Romney will accuse President Barack Obama and his administration of leaking classified intelligence details for political gain in a major foreign policy speech in Reno Tuesday.

"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," Romney will say, according to advanced excerpts released by his campaign.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee will deliver those words at the Veterans of Foreign War convention, which the president addressed Monday.

(http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/23/at-vfw-obama-talks-about-promises-kept/?iref=allsearch)

In the speech, his final domestic stop before his trip to England, Israel and Poland, Romney will call on the Obama administration to properly investigate the leaks in a timely manner.

"It is not enough to say the matter is being looked into, and leave it at that," Romney will say. "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.'"

To help back up his argument, Romney quotes Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who said at an event Monday the leaks were coming from within the White House.

"I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks," Feinstein said during a question and answer session at a World Affairs Council forum. "I don't know specifically where, but they have to begin to understand that, and do something about it."

Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has used tough language in the past regarding the leaks but has declined to join the Republican call for a special independent investigation.

In June, the Department of Justice announced it was appointing two U.S. attorneys to investigate the leaks, which included classified information published in the New York Times in June regarding what was described as a U.S. cyberattack targeting Iran's nuclear centrifuge program.

Other recent possible leaks of classified information included details on the administration's efforts to expand its drone program and Obama's involvement in "kill lists" against militants in Yemen and Pakistan.

The public airing of details surrounding a recently disrupted bomb plot in Yemen by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula also angered intelligence and national security officials.

On Monday, Feinstein was clear she didn't think Obama or his top aides were responsible for releasing the classified information. She did say, however, that Obama needed to set a tone in his administration that leaks would not be tolerated.

"I don't believe for a moment [Obama] goes out and talks about it," Feinstein said of secret intelligence information. "I don't believe the briefers go out and talk about it. But who knows who else. And I think that the importance of this has to be really set by the president himself, and hopefully he will do it."

In his remarks, Romney will ask "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."

The former Massachusetts governor will also point to Obama's first Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was first appointed by President George W. Bush.

"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," Romney will say.

The White House hopeful also charges the Obama administration has "failed to change its ways" and says "more top-secret operations were leaked, even some involving covert action in Iran."

Romney will say, "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."

In his remarks, Romney will also pin the blame for the upcoming "fiscal cliff," which includes massive cuts to military spending, squarely on Obama.

"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."

The cuts, which would begin in January 2013, are the result of a Congressional deal struck between Democrats and Republicans last fall during the battle over raising the federal debt ceiling. If negotiators from both parties fail to strike a deal, the Pentagon will be forced to cut an additional $500 billion from its accounts over the next 10 years.

In his remarks, Romney will spell out the consequences of the cuts, saying "That devastation starts at home. These cuts would only weaken an already stretched VA system and our solemn commitment that every veteran receives care second to none. I will not allow that to happen."

Obama also addressed the so-called "sequester" on Monday, telling the VFW that Republicans were "playing politics with our military."

"Let's get serious and reduce our deficit and keep our military strong," Obama said.

Responding to Romney's assault on leaks and budget cuts, Obama's campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said the GOP candidate was offering only "bluster."

"With all of the complex global challenges facing our nation today, Governor Romney's much-hyped foreign policy speech once again is all bluster, offering no specific plans for our relations with any region of the world," LaBolt wrote. "He's about to embark on a foreign trip where his aides have promised no policy, just photo-ops and fundraising. By resorting to cheap attacks that lack credibility rather than answering the most basic questions about his foreign policy agenda, Governor Romney has simply not passed the Commander-in-Chief test."


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