Leon Panetta

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In Afghan Blast, Panetta at Greater Risk Than Reported

Runway explosion was a close call, say defense officials

(Newser) - New details in the Afghan truck explosion around the time of Leon Panetta's arrival: The driver was an Afghan interpreter working at Camp Bastion who apparently aimed his vehicle at two top NATO commanders waiting for Panetta's plane to arrive Wednesday. Defense officials initially downplayed the incident. The... More »

Afghan in Panetta Truck Blast Dies

Man was probably not targeting Panetta, official says

(Newser) - The Afghan man who drove onto the runway of a US base where Leon Panetta's plane was landing and then crashed into a ditch has died. The man emerged from the vehicle after the crash engulfed it in flames and was doused by security personnel, then treated at a... More »

Panetta Safe After Vehicle Blast Near Afghan Runway

Truck drives onto Afghan runway as plane was landing

(Newser) - It's either a close call or a false alarm for Leon Panetta in Afghanistan: An Afghan man drove a pickup truck through a fence and onto a runway about the same time that the defense secretary's plane was landing at a US base, reports the AP and Washington ... More »

Obama: We'll Find 'Anyone Responsible' in Afghan Shooting

President calls alleged shooting of civilians 'tragic and shocking'

(Newser) - President Obama weighed in today with his own reaction to the 16 Afghans allegedly gunned down by one or more US soldiers, the AP reports. He called the killings "tragic and shocking" and promised "to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible.... More »

US Fears Israel Will Hit Iran Without Warning

Ehud Barak warns, 'Later will be too late'

(Newser) - The Obama administration is worried that Israel is on the verge of launching a military strike against Iran—and that Israel plans to give the US little to no warning or say in the matter, sources tell the Washington Post . Ehud Barak certainly reinforced that idea yesterday. "Whoever says... More »

Israel Will Attack Iran Soon? No Comment, Says Panetta

He doesn't dispute columnist's account

(Newser) - In his Washington Post column today, David Ignatius stated flatly that defense chief Leon Panetta thinks it's a "strong likelihood" that Israel will bomb Iran in either April, May, or June. The columnist didn't explain how he learned this, and reporters asked Panetta this afternoon whether he... More »

Panetta: US Combat Role in Afghanistan Over in 2013

But American, NATO troops will still have 'robust' advisory role

(Newser) - At some point next year, the US will no longer be fighting a war in Afghanistan for the first time in a decade. "Hopefully by mid to the latter part of 2013 we’ll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advise, and... More »

Biden: I Advised Against bin Laden Raid

Panetta was the only adviser fully in favor, VP says

(Newser) - Joe Biden has admitted that he made the wrong call on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Describing the decision-making process to House Democrats at their annual retreat, Biden said that when President Obama asked his top advisers for their judgment on whether the raid should go ahead, Leon... More »

Panetta: I Think Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden

Defense chief also calls for release of doctor who helped catch him

(Newser) - Defense chief Leon Panetta talks about the capture of Osama bin Laden with CBS' 60 Minutes in an interview airing tomorrow, and two main points are generating headlines:
  • Pakistan knew? He suspects government authorities knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad, notes the Hill . "I personally have always felt that
... More »

Panetta Plans to Shrink Size of Army, Marines

Defense chief outlines cuts for Pentagon

(Newser) - The Pentagon outlined a plan today for slowing the growth of military spending, including cutting the size of the Army and Marine Corps, retiring older planes, and trimming war costs. It drew quick criticism from Republicans, signaling the difficulty of scaling back defense budgets in an election year. The changes... More »

DC's 50 Most Powerful People

Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell top the list

(Newser) - Who are the real power brokers in Washington? GQ names the top 50 in its biennial list of the most powerful people in DC—although, the magazine notes, "People with the last names Obama and Biden not included." The top five:
  • Eric Cantor: The House majority leader is
... More »

Panetta Calls Karzai Over Marines' Video

Two of the four servicemen have been identified

(Newser) - The US went into full damage control mode today over a video that surfaced yesterday that appeared to show four Marines urinating on Taliban fighters' corpses . Leon Panetta called Hamid Karzai to decry the video, and he issued a statement calling the actions "entirely inappropriate," the Wall Street ... More »

Obama Unveils 'Leaner,' 'Agile' Military

He wants to shift focus from ground troops to 'irregular warfare'

(Newser) - President Obama officially unveiled his plan for a slimmed-down military with a speech at the Pentagon today, promising that budget cuts and a reduction in conventional ground forces wouldn't harm the nation's security. "Our military will be leaner, but the world must know—the United States is... More »

Obama Cutting Thousands of Ground Troops

Military no longer expected to be able to fight two wars at once

(Newser) - The US military is going to end up with a lot fewer boots on the ground as a results of cuts included in the debt ceiling deal. As part of the Obama administration's military overhaul , to be unveiled today, air and sea forces will be boosted, but Army and... More »

Pentagon Readies Blueprint of Slim New Self

And with it, the Obama administration's defense priorities

(Newser) - The White House is poised to unveil its proposal to slim down the military to bring it in line with cuts agreed to in the recent debt ceiling deal, and in so doing give America a sense of Leon Panetta’s vision for the military’s future, the New York ... More »

Panetta Is First US Defense Chief to Visit Libya

His trip comes as US lifts sanctions

(Newser) - Leon Panetta became the first US defense secretary to go to Libya earlier today, touring war-torn Tripoli, reports the AP . Panetta is scheduled to meet with members of the transitional government and visit the graves of 13 sailors who died in 1804, when the US Intrepid attempted to destroy pirate... More »

It's Over: Iraq War Ends Today

Leon Panetta shuts down operation in quiet ceremony

(Newser) - Today's the day. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declared the Iraq War over in a quiet ceremony in Baghdad, saying the conflict was worth the cost because it set Iraq on a path to democracy. After speeches, the flag of United States Force-Iraq was "cased"—furled around a... More »

Panetta to Israel: 'Just Get to the Damn Table'

Defense Secretary says military action should be 'last resort, not the first'

(Newser) - Leon Panetta delivered a harsh rebuke to Israel yesterday, saying that it needed to take steps to end its increasing isolation in the Middle East—starting with reviving peace talks with the Palestinians. “Just get to the damn table,” Panetta said at a pro-Israel forum in Washington, according... More »

Pentagon: We're Not Planning for Spending Cuts

Says it'll instead pressure Congress to change course

(Newser) - The Pentagon has no plans in place to deal with the $500 billion in spending cuts theoretically heading its way thanks to the supercommittee’s failure —and it refuses to make any now. “We are not planning for the” cuts, a Pentagon spokesman tells the New York Times... More »

Panetta Pays Coach Fare for $30K Flights Home

Defense secretary required to travel on military jets

(Newser) - Leon Panetta usually heads home to California for the weekend, and the defense chief is racking up huge costs in cross-country travel, reports the Washington Times . Panetta has made the journey 14 times since taking the post in July, and the Times says each round trip in a military jet... More »

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