Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave a heated interview to CBS This Morning on Tuesday, lashing out at the Navy SEAL whose controversial book about the Osama bin Laden raid has upset many in the military community.
Panetta reiterated the charge that Matt Bissonnette (or "Mark Owen") did not run his book by the Pentagon as is usually required by former military members and that the Defense Department cannot allow soldiers to sell stories about "sensitive" topics. His comments mirror that of that head of the Naval Special Warfare Command, who also criticized soldiers and sailors who profit from their missions. Panetta said, "How the hell can we run sensitive operations here that go after enemies if people are allowed to do that?"
He also didn't rule out the idea that some sort of legal action could be taken against the author as the Pentagon is still reviewing the book to see what information was revealed saying that government needs to send a signal that "we're not going to accept this kind of behavior," before other people get the impression that they can publish stories in this manner without any penalty.
The Secretary got even more upset when asked about defense spending cuts that are hanging over his department if a budget deal cannot be reach by the end of this year. Panetta said the Pentagon has not even tried to figure out how to deal with the potential of forced budget cuts because the very idea of the sequestration was irresponsible on the part of lawmakers. "They put a gun to their head and if we don't do the right thing we'll blow our heads off."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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