Ridge, for Romney, Criticizes Obama Over Leaks (Watch Video)
Tom Ridge is reporting for surrogate duty. The former Secretary of Homeland Security and PA Governor has joined presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in expressing disappointment over President Obama’s approach to matters of national security.
“When it comes to the broader national security interests, I must express supreme and extreme disappointment. In the fact that for whatever reason, and regardless of the source, there have been serious, serious security leaks,” said Ridge during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday.
Ridge pointed to the Bin Laden raid as one such instance in which vital information was leaked to the press. He also said that leaks occurred involving the Iranian nuclear program and other operations taking place in the Middle East.
“So, there’s a series of things that the President has done that I think, frankly, disappoints us. And, frankly, the security leaks in my judgment are a major national security problem,” he said.
It’s a risky approach for the Republican hopeful. The President’s foreign policy accomplishments, including killing bin Laden and drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are among his strongest.
Ridge’s criticism of the current administration comes shortly after similar claims were made by Romney during his address at a VFW convention in Reno, Nevada.
According to The New York Times, Romney was very direct in accusing the White House of allowing the leaks for political gain.
“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 by a special counsel, with explanation and consequence.”
To support his accusations, Romney cited Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who on Monday said that while she did not believe Obama himself was responsible for the leaks, “The White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.”
Following Romney’s speech, however, Feinstein expressed displeasure about comments being used in the attack.
She even took back her previous statement.
“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.”
The Obama camp responded on Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden, who said Romney’s criticisms are empty words.
“All we heard from Gov. Romney was empty rhetoric and bluster. He reflexively criticizes the President’s policies without offering any alternatives.”