- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shortly after GOP challenger Mitt Romney cited her as a source for his charge of politically motivated defense leaks from the Obama White House, a top Democratic senator tried to walk back her comments Tuesday.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said she went too far in remarks Monday blaming some in the White House for leaks to the press on classified details of such operations as U.S. cyberattacks on Iran and an Al Qaeda plan to try to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner.

While absolving Mr. Obama of blame personally, the California Democrat told a World Affairs Council Monday, “I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.”

On Tuesday, Mrs. Feinstein was trying to revise and extend her previous remarks, saying she really doesn’t know who is responsible for the leaks and said she shouldn’t have gone beyond what she knew in her public comments Monday.

“I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks,” she said. “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 in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

Noting Attorney General Eric Holder’s appointment of two U.S. attorneys to investigate the leaks, Mrs. Feinstein also said she is “disappointed” that Mr. Romney used her comments to accuse the White House of not being more forthcoming.

“I know we are in campaign season, but I hope the investigation proceeds without political accusation or interference from anyone,” she said.

Mr. Romney, in remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Tuesday, joined other Republicans in calling for an independent counsel to investigate who is responsible for the leaks.

Mr. Obama and his aides have vigorously denied releasing any classified information to reporters, pointing to other areas of the federal government as the source.

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