Feinstein hits Romney for using her comments in speech
July 24th, 2012
03:23 PM ET
11 years ago

Feinstein hits Romney for using her comments in speech

(CNN) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, on Tuesday walked back recent comments accusing the White House of leaking national security information and blasted Mitt Romney for using her remarks in a speech on foreign policy.

"I am disappointed by the statements made by Mr. Romney today regarding a question I was asked yesterday at the World Affairs Council," Feinstein said in a statement.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Feinstein added she did not believe the leaks came from the president but stated she "shouldn't have speculated beyond."

On Monday, Feinstein said during a question and answer session at a World Affairs Council forum that "the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. 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."

Seizing on her remarks, Romney cited Feinstein in his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention on Tuesday.

"This conduct is contemptible," Romney said of the leaks. "It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation by a special counsel, with explanation and consequence."

Feinstein, however, in a statement released shortly after his speech, said she regretted her choice of words the day prior and disputed Romney's decision to reference her comments in his VFW remarks.

"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," she said.

She continued: "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."

Later in a separate statement, Romney's campaign argued Feinstein had been pressured to amend her comments.

"It looks like President Obama has given Dianne Feinstein the Cory Booker treatment. Yesterday she was speaking candidly about the leaks originating from this White House. Today, she was forced to walk it back," said Ryan Williams, Romney campaign spokesman.

- CNN's Dana Bash, Shawna Shepherd, Kevin Liptak, and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Dianne Feinstein • Mitt Romney • Nevada • White House
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. PJ/TX

    Perfect examples of his "I don't remember what I said, but I stand by it" comment.

    July 24, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. cali girl

    I thought this was old news, brought up around the fast and furious stuff. Typical pathetic Robmey, just keep reaching for the distractions instead of telling us you plans for jobs and the economy, that is, if you actually have a plan.

    July 24, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. ST

    It does not make sense at all quoting someone without consulting that person first and make sure you get the really meaning. This kind of repeating doesn't make any difference from what parrots do.

    July 24, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. You People Aint Seeing Our Tax Returns

    When will Romney start to lead in national polls?
    For more than ten months, Romney and his allies have been attacking the president on every issue.
    It seems the American people are no longer paying attention to Romney's rantings.

    July 24, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Steve- Illinois

    "The private sector is doing fine!" "Nope, nope, that's not what I meant!" "You didn't build this!" "Nope, nope, that's not what I meant!" "The leaks are coming from the White House." "Nope, nope, that's not what I meant!"

    Anyone see a pattern here?

    July 24, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. carlos

    the mormonic doublespeak bishop.......what a freaking liar...are they all the same as their bishop?...loks that way...

    July 24, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. rrd

    Steve- Illinois

    "The private sector is doing fine!" "Nope, nope, that's not what I meant!" "You didn't build this!" "Nope, nope, that's not what I meant!" "The leaks are coming from the White House." "Nope, nope, that's not what I meant!"

    Anyone see a pattern here?
    July 24, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm


    Steve, Don't forget:

    Bill Clinton: Mitt Romney's business record 'sterling'

    Cory Booker: I have to just say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker said. “To me, it’s just this — we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America, especially that I know. I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, it ain’t — they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses

    Am I taking them out of "context"?

    July 24, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Ex Republican

    Romney is a big liar..Wake up everybody watch Romney flip flop.

    July 24, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Iamnotfooled

    Romney misquoted the Prime Minister of Australia the other day. He had to put out a statement saying Romney misquoted him. Now Romney is taking out of context Dianne Feinstein comments. He took President Obama's comments out of context last week. How can we believe him? He will do or say anything to get elected.

    July 24, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Montykoolaid

    Steve from my home state Illinois, lets see here...

    The private sector IS doing just fine! They have actually made a killing and are sitting on trillions of dollars in profit!

    So there goes that one...

    Im sorry, but if you built a business and managed to not use the our internet, our phone system, our public roads to get your materials or products in or out (you levitating this stuff now?), our public roads to get customers to you, our power grid, our mail system then you are God.

    His point, that was sliced and diced and removed from any context until it was completely changed, was that we are all in this together, and we are, as Americans, and I am PROUD of that fact.

    Lets play the Romney game!

    “Our hearts break with the sadness of this unspeakable tragedy. Ann and I join the president and first lady and all Americans in offering our deepest condolences to those whose lives were shattered in a few moments, a few moments of evil in Colorado,” Romney told a few hundred people gathered at a lumber yard here." – Romney

    "Our hearts... join.... all Americans in.... evil in Colorado" – Romney

    Oh my God! Romney wants more evil in Colorado!

    July 24, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "Romney should open up an active campaign and target Hillary Democrats to get their vote. "

    Won't work....or did you forget that the GOP's attempt to fluff up opposition to Obama in 2008 through that PUMA nonsense was also completely unsuccessful and transparent? I mean really...choosing that dolt Jabberwocky Barbie was pretty clearly intended to combat Obama's blackness with a woman and try to cash in on a rift in the Dem party that the GOP assumed existed and hoped to exploit with PUMA. I'm sure they got a few imbeciles to fall for it, but most of us recognized that "I'm going to vote for the guy just out of spite, even though he supports all th epolicies I hate and that my preferred candidate hates...all because I'm angry about her not being nominated"...that was some pretty thin stupid you guys tried to sell. But be our guest. Look stupid all over again. It amuses me.

    July 24, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. lindylou123

    Romney- do you have anything to say or offer rather than bashing Pres. Obama? EVERY government has leaks – his own party outed a CIA agent who was dealing with WMDs – they were traitors! Pres Obama had done the right thing for this nation and I have every confidence that he will continue to keep us safe- way safer than Mittens who wants to go to war with Iran- don't forget, he owns weapons manufacturing companies and will send your kids not his who instead go on a 'mission' to places like France. Just shut up, Romney , until you have something positive to offer this great nation.

    July 24, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Bonnie-Nevada

    I was irritated that Romney, who did not serve in Viet Nam, and who's sons have not served in the military came to my state and addressed the VFW one day after the President. Romney justified his son's not serving, stating that they were serving their country by getting him elected into the White House and buying a motor home to travel around the country campaigning for him. I understand that Romney was in France on a Mormon Mission during the Viet Nam war, but Clinton was in London studying around the same time and the Republicans accused him of being a draft dodger. Clinton certainly did not have enough money during those years to change his draft status, (he was in no position to influence anyone on his behalf) but Romney certainly did! Obama was 11 years old at the time! Funny how Joe Biden served and so did his son/sons, but no one seems to care about that!

    July 24, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I shouldn't have speculated beyond that, because the fact of the matter is I don't know the source of the leaks," she said.
    Yeah. Somebody should hurry up and close that barn door.

    July 24, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I know we are in a campaign season, but I hope the investigation proceeds without political accusation or interference from anyone."
    ...Is that barn door closed? I see horses and cows all over the back forty.
    In other words Feinstein: too late.

    July 24, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
1 2