Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday backpedaled on remarks about the White House being partly responsible for a recent spate of national security leaks.
Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that she regrets speculating on the White House's role in leaks related to classified information.
"I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks," Feinstein said, according to the Associated Press. "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."
Speaking at a forum the day before, Feinstein said she “think[s] the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks,” though said she didn't believe the leaks came from President Barack Obama.
Her comments were quickly seized on by Obama rival Mitt Romney, who mentioned Feinstein by name in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and accused the White House of leaking the information to bolster the president's foreign policy credentials.
"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. "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."
Feinstein added, "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."
Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu said Tuesday Feinstein got "Cory Bookered" into retracting her remarks, referring to the dust-up after the Newark mayor was forced to backpedal comments calling the Obama campaign's attacks on Romney's Bain record "nauseating."
“Senator Feinstein said yesterday that it did come out of the White House,” Sununu, a Romney surrogate, said on Fox News’s “Hannity.” “Today, she got Cory Bookered and she walked it back, but the fact is that this president is trying anything to change the subject from his failures as a president.”