UPDATE (below): Feinstein walks back leak remarks

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday that someone from President Barack Obama's administration has been leaking classified information to reporters.

"I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks," she told members of the World Affairs Council forum, according to The Assocaited Press. The California Democrat reportedly added that she does not believe President Obama was personally responsible.

"I don't believe for a moment that [the president] goes out and talks about it," she said.

Republicans have since last month been pressing for the appointment of a special prosecutor to ferret out who spoke to reporters about the administration's so-called terrorist "kill list" and a series of successful cyber-sabotage efforts within Iran. Reporters who produced the stories for Newsweek and The New York Times quoted unnamed officials.

The president's former opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), took up the issue by insisting that the leaks had compromised national security. "For this reason, regardless of how politically useful these leaks may be to the president, they have to stop," he said last month.

During a White House briefing just two days after McCain's comments, President Obama took umbrage at the allegation. "The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive," he said. "It’s wrong, and people I think need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how people around here approach this office."

Attorney General Eric Holder has tasked two U.S. Attorneys to investigate the matter.

UPDATE: Feinstein walks back leak remarks

Sen. Feinstein issued a statement Tuesday explaining that her remarks to the World Affairs Council on Monday were inappropriate and purely speculative.

"I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks," she wrote. "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."


Photo: AFP / Mandel Ngan.