Entries in Dianne Feinstein (5)


Connecticut School Shooting Sparks Assault Weapons Ban Talk

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- The elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., has opened the subject of gun control and the Second Amendment in the United States.

That debate took center stage on Sunday, when California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she intends to introduce an assault weapons ban on the first day of the next Congress.

"The purpose of this bill is to get ... weapons of war off the streets," the longtime Democratic senator said on NBC's Meet The Press.

President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994, but the measure expired in 2004.  Feinstein also called for the ban to be renewed in July, after the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman went a step further, suggesting there should be "a national commission on mass violence," following Friday's shooting in his home state.

Lieberman said this commission would investigate the questions being asked about Newtown and come up with ways to try and prevent it from happening again.

"It's time for Democrats, Republicans and independents to say ... the strongest conceivable gun control laws won't stop all acts of violence.  But, also, to acknowledge that the stronger our gun control laws are, the fewer acts of violence including mass violence that will happen in our society," Lieberman said today on Fox News Sunday.

Lieberman, an independent, spoke out in favor of reinstating the assault weapons ban, but also talked about "toning down" the violence that he said dominates our entertainment industry.

"The violence in the entertainment culture, particularly with the extraordinary realism to video games and movies now, does cause vulnerable young men, particularly, to be more violent," he said.

Following the Connecticut shooting, it has been reported that the shooter, 20-year old Adam Lanza, was an avid player of violent video games that involved shooting guns.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz agreed that violence found in games and movies is something that needs to be addressed.  But in terms of gun regulation following the Newtown shooting, Chaffetz called current gun rules "stringent" and said "there are prohibitions on lots of guns."

"I'm a conceal carry permit-holder.  I own a Glock 23.  I've got a shotgun.  I'm not the person you need to worry about," Chaffetz said on ABC's This Week.  "But we have to look at the mental health access that these people have."

Chaffetz added that it will take more than government solutions to prevent a shooting like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School from happening again.

In an address following the deadly shooting, President Obama seemed ready to take on the issue of gun control in his second term.

"As a country we have been through this too many times," he said.  "Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or a temple in Wisconsin or a movie theatre in Aurora or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children."

The statement is a subtle but marked shift for Obama, who has not made gun control a priority during his presidency in spite of at least five major mass shootings that have occurred on his watch -- Binghamton, N.Y. (2009); Fort Hood, Texas (2009); Tucson, Ariz. (2011); Aurora, Colo. (2012); and Oak Creek, Wis. (2012).

As far as the assault weapons ban Feinstein plans to introduce early next year, she said she expected Obama to offer public support for the law.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FBI Chief Briefs Select Lawmakers on Petraeus Events

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- FBI Director Robert Mueller had a 90-minute closed-door meeting on Wednesday with Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to brief the lawmaker on the events that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.  

The meeting was also attended by Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the ranking Democratic member of the committee, and FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce.

CIA acting director Mike Morrell was also on Capitol Hill to brief the two lawmakers.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein and ranking GOP member Saxby Chambliss were also briefed on the Petraeus matter by Mueller.

After their meeting, Feinstein and Chambliss issued a joint statement: “Today we received a comprehensive briefing from FBI Director Robert Mueller and Deputy Director Sean Joyce on the events that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.  They answered our questions.  Because this is an ongoing FBI investigation, we will have no further comment.”

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont met with Mueller, as well.

The Intelligence and Judiciary committees have oversight of the FBI.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Feinstein's Blaming White House for National Security Leaks Emerges as Campaign Issue

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- In remarks at the World Affairs Council, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed concern Monday about leaks of national security information coming, she's concluded, from the Obama administration, saying, “The White House has to understand that some of this is coming from its ranks. I don’t know specifically where, but I think they have to begin to understand that and do something about it.”

Referring to David Sanger’s book Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, Feinstein said, “There’s one book they can read and they’ll see it very clearly. And I think that should be the case.”

Feinstein said that, “what the president actually knows about this is difficult because with respect to intelligence he is in a bubble. He has his daily brief, called the PDB, the President’s Daily Brief, early every morning. And so he gets briefing from intelligence I don’t believe for a moment that he goes out and talks about it, I don’t believe the briefers go out and talk about it, but who knows who else? And I think that the importance of this has to be really set by the president himself. And hopefully he will do it, and I think he’ll most likely read the book and see it himself.”

Asked for more detail about the senator’s comments, a Feinstein aide says that when she said the leaks were “coming from its ranks,” the senator was referring to the Obama administration -- the federal government -- in general, not specifically individuals in the White House. The aide also claimed that the senator does not know who the leakers were; she was assuming.

Critics have accused the Obama administration of leaking information on such secret operations for political gain.

Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday made much of her remarks -- and the leak issue in general -- Tuesday in his speech to the VFW.

“After secret operational details of the bin Laden raid were given to reporters, Secretary Gates walked into the West Wing and told the Obama team to ‘shut up,’” Romney said, also referring to a passage in Sanger’s book. “And he added a colorful…word for emphasis.”

Said Romney Tuesday, “Lives of American servicemen and women are at stake. But astonishingly, the administration failed to change its ways. More top-secret operations were leaked, even some involving covert action going on in Iran. This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s a national security crisis. And yesterday, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, quote, ‘I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks.’ End of quote.”

Gov. Romney said, “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.”

Feinstein Tuesday issued a statement saying she was “disappointed by the statements made by Mr. Romney today regarding a question I was asked yesterday at the World Affairs Council. I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks. 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.”

Feinstein went on, saying, “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. 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. I know we are in a campaign season, but I hope the investigation proceeds without political accusation or interference from anyone.”

Responded the Romney campaign’s Ryan Williams: “It looks like President Obama has given Dianne Feinstein the 'Cory Booker treatment,'" referring to the Newark New Jersey mayor who made critical statements of the president only to come under fire from Obama staffers and then apparently reverse his position. "Yesterday she was speaking candidly about the leaks originating from this White House," Williams said, "today, she was forced to walk it back. As Governor Romney said today, we need a leader who will take responsibility and immediately halt these security breaches before more American lives are put in danger.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Feinstein: ‘Bad Time’ to Press Gun Control

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, one of more outspoken gun-control advocates in Congress, said on Sunday that both Mitt Romney and President Obama should give the gun control issue a lot of “consideration,” but said now is a “bad time” to press the issue politically.

“I think that they should give it a lot of consideration. I think this is a bad time to bring such a new subject,” the California Democrat said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There has been no action because there is no outrage out there. People haven’t rallied forward.”

A 2009 Gallup poll found that only 44 percent of people do not support stricter gun laws down from a high of 78 percent in 1990.  However, more targeted polls find that there is more support for banning certain types of weapons.

Feinstein co-sponsored the original assault weapon ban signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, but that law expired in 2004 under President George W. Bush.  Feinstein has fought to reinstate the ban and more recently introduced legislation to limit the size of ammunition sold.

Gun control advocates frequently blame the influence of the National Rifle Association, which has more than 4 million members, as the reason for the lack of any gun control legislation.  Pro-gun groups argue that any restrictions placed on gun rights violate the Second Amendment.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday that the President has no plans to introduce any new policies to address gun violence.

“The president believes that we need to take common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights of Americans, while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing law do not get them,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Feinstein on Iranian Plot: ‘There May Be a Chain of These Things’

Feinstein [dot] Senate [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Members of the Senate received a closed-door classified briefing Wednesday from the FBI, the NCTC, the CIA, State Department and Treasury on the Iranian terror plot divulged Tuesday.

Emerging from the nearly two-hour briefing , Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, speculated that, “There may be a chain of these things...It’s hard for me to believe that there is just one plot involving the United States.  I think we need to explore whether there are other plots going on... in other countries.”

On Tuesday, it was revealed that FBI and DEA agents disrupted a plot to commit a “significant terrorist act in the United States” tied to Iran, federal officials told ABC News.

The officials said the plot included the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Al-Jubeir, and subsequent bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C.  Bombings of the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were also discussed, according to the U.S. officials.

On Wednesday, Feinstein said that intelligence indicates that there “may well be problems elsewhere” that need to be looked at.

She speculated that the Quds force of Iran would not have launched such a plot without the highest levels of approval from the country’s Revolutionary Guard and mostly likely from some higher elements of the government.  She said she did not know if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was involved.

“This is a very unusual thing,” she said.  “And because it’s unusual, because it’s Quds force, because it’s Revolutionary Guard, two agencies very high in the hierarchy in the Iranian government, you’ve got to think if they’re going after a Saudi ambassador here, what about a Saudi ambassador there or an Israeli ambassador there, or an American ambassador.  So I think we should all be alert to that.  But I am not saying there is a broader plot.”

From what she heard in the briefing, Feinstein said, she thinks there are already various responses taking place from the U.S. administration, including diplomatically and through the Department of the Treasury.

“I think the administration has moved very rapidly,” Feinstein said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio