Romney to blast Obama for security leaks

Sam Youngman
July 24, 2012

* Says security leaks are "contemptible"

* Also bound for London, Israel this week

RENO, Nev., July 24 (Reuters) - Republican presidential

candidate Mitt Romney, looking to bolster his the national

security credentials, plans to put the blame for leaks of

classified information at the feet of President Barack Obama.

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on

Tuesday, Romney was to call out Obama's White House for leaks to

the media and assure veterans that a Romney administration would

keep a tight lid on secret information.

"What kind of White House would reveal classified material

for political gain?" Romney was to say, according to prepared

remarks released by his campaign. "I'll tell you right now: Mine

won't."

After a weekend truce following the deadly shooting rampage

in Aurora, Colorado, Romney and Obama have returned to their

intense campaign postures.

Romney departs this week on a trip that will take him to

London, Israel and Poland in an attempt to round out a campaign

that has so far focused almost exclusively on the U.S. economy.

In preparation for his trip, Romney will blast Obama over

leaks, including those about the raid that killed al Qaeda

leader Osama bin Laden and cyber-warfare that has reportedly

been used against Iran.

Romney's speech excerpts made no mention of major foreign

policy issues like the conflict in Syria or U.S. relations with

Russia and China.

Democrats have long accused Romney of being a foreign policy

"lightweight." In response, he appears to be making the security

leaks one of his primary paths toward attacking Obama on foreign

affairs.

"This conduct is contemptible," Romney said in his prepared

remarks. "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."

Attorney General Eric Holder last month appointed two chief

federal prosecutors to spearhead an investigation into suspected

leaks of classified information amid allegations that the White

House made the disclosures to boost Obama's election chances.

In his speech, Romney also was to criticize the

"sequestration" trigger Obama and congressional Republicans

agreed to last summer.

The deal puts in place an automatic $1 trillion budget cut -

half of that in defense spending - that Romney says is 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."

While the economy has provided an easy target for

Republicans to take aim at Obama, the president has generally

received good marks for his handling of foreign policy.

Obama made a speech to the VFW meeting on Monday and was

generally well received as he called on Republican legislators

to stop "playing politics" with the U.S. military budget.

(Editing By Alistair Bell)