In a major foreign policy speech today, Mitt Romney will hammer President Barack Obama over his administration’s recent national security leaks, accusing his opponent of putting the country’s national security in jeopardy to score political pointsAccording to advance excerpts of the speech, the Republican presidential candidate plans will hammer the President for leaks, citing recent criticism that Obama’s White House aides leaked sensitive national security information — including classified details about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — in order to score political points for their boss.
Here are the relevant excerpts (emphasis mine):
It is reported that Bob Gates, the President’s first secretary of defence, 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 colourful 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 authorise 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.
Romney will give the remarks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference in Reno this afternoon, in an appearance that the Romney campaign has heralded as the candidate’s first major foreign policy rollout of the general election.
But the advance excerpts of the speech emailed by the campaign this morning give no indication of what — if any — new policy details Romney plans to unveil today.
Here are the rest of the excerpts:
From Berlin to Cairo to the United Nations, President Obama has shared his view of America and its place among nations. I have come here today to share mine.
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. 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. And I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century. …
… If we do not have the strength or vision to lead, then other powers will take our place, pulling history in a very different direction. A just and peaceful world depends on a strong and confident America. I pledge to you that if I become commander-in-chief, the United States of America will fulfil its duty, and its destiny.
Today, we are just months away from an arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would saddle the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink our force structure, and impair our ability to meet and deter threats. Don’t bother trying to find a serious military rationale behind any of this, unless that rationale is wishful thinking. Strategy is not driving President Obama’s massive defence cuts. In fact, his own Secretary of defence warned that these reductions would be “devastating.” And he is right.
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.
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