Yesterday, the Washington Post had a lengthy report on how former CIA director Leon Panetta was sending out copies of his book nearly a month before it cleared the CIA's internal revue process to ensure that no sensitive national security information was being revealed. According to the Post, Panetta clashed with his former agency repeatedly throughout the process. And he refused to hold himself to the same standards of secrecy that he demanded while he was CIA director, having publicly scolded Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette for his own book about the Bin Laden raid. The Post also notes that Panetta played fast and loose with state secrets at the CIA: "His public comments about the drone campaign — including his description of airstrikes on al-Qaeda as “the only game in town” — were so extensive that the American Civil Liberties Union cited them extensively in a lawsuit that argued the program could no longer be considered a government secret."
Of course, the idea that Panetta would spurn the CIA in order to make sure his $3 million book deal went off without a hitch should not be surprising to anyone who has followed Panetta's career. Decades ago, The New Republic reported Panetta was the likely the source who revealed Daniel Patrick Moynihan's authorship of the controversial report “The Black Family: Then and Now" to the press. Former Bush administration official and historian Tevi Troy recounted the incident in his book Intellectuals and the American Presidency:
“The Black Family: Then and Now" ... attributed the disproportionate poverty in the black community to rising illegitimacy. The liberal intelligentsia pilloried Moynihan for this conclusion, and he left the Department of Labor not long after his authorship of the report became public. ... The memo was leaked to the press, and on March 1, the New York Times ran an article headlined “‘Benign Neglect’ on Race Is Proposed by Moynihan.” The White House was swamped with criticism from civil-rights leaders and editorial pages, and Moynihan had to hold a press conference to defend himself.
Although memos leak all the time, and the leakers are rarely identified, The New Republic’s John Osborne reported in a March 1970 profile of Moynihan that Leon Panetta was a prime suspect in the leak.
There was certainly some reason for the suspicion. In February, Panetta had resigned from HEW because he opposed the Nixon administration’s approach to desegregation. Panetta later went to work for New York mayor John Lindsay, switched parties, and successfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1976. The leaker has never been definitively identified.
Looking ahead, Panetta is expected to hitch his wagon to Hillary's presidential bid. When the Clintons invariably start kneecapping the insufficiently loyal in the press, Panetta's proximity to the various revelations might be of interest to political observers. And if, God forbid, Panetta is up for a prominent job in yet another Clinton administration, the Senate should once again consider Panetta's problematic relationship with political secrets.
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on the latest on the airstrikes against ISIS and the efforts to discredit Leon Panetta after he criticized the White House on foreign policy in his new book.
A former spokesman for President Barack Obama, Bill Burton, went on CNN last night to unload on the president's former defense secretary and former CIA director, Leon Panetta. Burton is upset about some of the things Panetta wrote in his memoir, which hit shelves yesterday, and called the long-time public servant "sad," "dishonorable," "small and petty."
President Obama's former defense secretary and CIA chief, Leon Panetta, told MSNBC today that he knew the Benghazi attack was a "terrorist attack" right away:
"I didn't have any specific information, but the fact was: when you bring grenade launchers to a demonstration, there's something else going on," said Panetta. "And I just, from the very beginning, sensed that this was an attack -- this was a terrorist attack on our compound."
Washington D.C. is big on tradition, and one of those traditions involves official portraits of top government officials. The Defense Department just awarded a $31,200 contract (frame included) to Portraits, Inc. for an official portrait of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta:
America’s military presence in the Persian Gulf serves as deterrence to Iran, reassures our increasingly nervous Arab partners, maintains peace, offers stability to our ally Israel, and has many other benefits.
The White House left Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and Sean Smith on their own on September 11 in Benghazi. That is the upshot of today’s Capitol Hill hearing featuring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey.
Neither the secretary of defense nor the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke to the secretary of state during the 8-hour attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. At a Thursday hearing in the Senate, Republican Ted Cruz asked both Leon Panetta and Martin Dempsey, "In between 9:42 p.m., Benghazi time, when the first attacks started, and 5:15 am, when Mr. Doherty and Mr. Woods lost their lives, what converations did either of you have with Secretary Clinton?"
"We did not have any conversations with Secretary Clinton," Panetta responded.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted in a Senate hearing Thursday that no military assets, individual soldiers or aircraft, sent in response to the September 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Watch the video below:
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified this morning on Capitol Hill that President Barack Obama was absent the night four Americans were murdered in Benghazi on September 11, 2012:
Panetta said, though he did meet with Obama at a 5 o'clock prescheduled gathering, the president left operational details, including knowledge of what resources were available to help the Americans under siege, "up to us."