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Mitt Romney yet to receive security briefings

September 12, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaking in Jacksonville, Fla., comments on the killing of U.S. Embassy personnel in Libya.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, speaking in Jacksonville,… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)

WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney has yet to begin receiving the security briefing typically afforded presidential nominees, his campaign said Wednesday.

The absence of a briefing is conspicuous at a time when foreign policy has emerged as a the focal point of the campaign, following the death of four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, amid violent protests in the Middle East. Last week, in his speech accepting the Democratic nomination for a second term, President Obama charged that Romney and his running mate, Paul D. Ryan, were “new to foreign policy.”

In 2008, both Obama and John McCain began receiving intelligence briefings shortly after accepting their respective party nominations for president.

PHOTOS: Consulate attack in Libya

Although Romney has officially been the Republican nominee for two weeks, he has yet to get a full security briefing, his campaign confirmed. Such a briefing would not be as detailed as the daily update the president receives.

Shawn Turner, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in a statement that the process “is moving forward on schedule.”

“The intelligence community is working closely with the Romney campaign to finalize the logistics for the candidate briefings,” Turner said.

Romney on Tuesday used the violence in the Middle East to criticize the Obama administration, saying the White House had failed to condemn the attacks and instead expressed sympathy with those who attacked diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt.

Romney stood by the remarks Wednesday, even after journalists pointed out that the initial comment Romney condemned came from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, not the White House, and before protesters had breached the compound.

Obama said the comment showed a tendency by Romney to “shoot first and aim later.”

PHOTOS: Mitt Romney on the campaign trail

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michael.memoli@latimes.com

Twitter: @mikememoli

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